The effects of materialism on consumer evaluation of sustainable synthetic (lab-grown) products

Jessica Keech, Maureen Morrin, Jeffrey Steven Podoshen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The increasing desire of consumers for socially responsible luxury products combined with fluctuating supplies in consumer markets are leading various industries to seek alternative sources to be able to meet the needs of its customers. One possible solution that may meet the demands of the future is lab-grown products. Because these products confer multiple benefits, this study aims to investigate the most effective ways to appeal to consumers by aligning the benefits of the products with their values as marketers seek to find effective promotion for these items. Design/methodology/approach: We examine the effectiveness of an ethical positioning strategy for two types of luxury lab-grown (synthetic) products among high versus low materialism consumers in three experiments. Findings: Findings suggest that a positioning strategy stressing product ethicality is more effective for low materialism consumers, whereas the strategy is less effective, and may even backfire, for high materialism consumers. The impact on social status consumers perceive from a lab-grown product explains why this effect occurs among low materialism consumers. Therefore, marketers should take caution and use specific appeals for different segments based on values such as consumers’ materialism levels. Originality/value: If lab-grown products represent the wave of the future, it is important to understand how consumers will respond to this emerging technology and how promotion strategies may enhance their evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-590
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 18 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


  • Lab grown products
  • Materialism
  • Sustainability


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