Bridget K. Behe

Bridget Behe

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Department of Horticulture

(517) 353-0346



Quick links: Education   Teaching   Publications    Extension    Research

Joined Department

Dr. Behe joined Michigan State in 1997 after working for eight years as an Assistant Professor then Associate Professor on the faculty in the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University in Alabama.


40% research, 40% teaching, 20% extension



Connect to Consumer (website housing Marketing Munchies Podcast)


Dr. Behe earned her Ph.D. from Penn State after earning an M.S. from The Ohio State University. Before that, she earned simultaneous B.S. degrees, one in horticulture and one in agricultural education, from Penn State University. Bridget is also a Certified Florist.


Professor Behe has a 40% teaching appointment and teaches two classes: HRT 407 (Horticulture Marketing) every other fall semester (odd years) and HRT 404 (Horticulture Management) every spring semester. She chairs the Department's Scholarship Committee.


Dr. Behe investigates the consumer preferences, perceptions, and purchases of horticultural crops, both edible and ornamental. Bridget has conducted studies and published results on the value of bee-friendly pest management strategies, branded transplants, sustainable/local/organic products, the perceived value of good landscaping, the market for a hypothetical blue geranium, helped to develop a market for fresh tart cherries and packaged, fresh asparagus, and contributed to the understanding of how age and ethnicity influence American gardening purchases and participation. Most exciting is her recent collaborative work with eye-tracking glasses to better understand what consumers see and what they ignore in ads, displays, and the shopping experience.

Current Projects in the Behe Lab

(1) With a grants from USDA-FSMIP, the Horticultural Research Institute, and MSU Project GREEEN, Bridget and colleagues are investigating how eye movements can be used to predict plant purchases.

(2) As more Americans suffer from obesity and diabetes, sweetener alternatives increase in demand. As one part of a large USDA-SCRI grant, we are investigating consumer perceptions, preferences, attitudes, and knowledge about stevia as a sweetener. Results could help grow the domestic stevia industry.

(3) With a grant from the Horticultural Research Institute, Bridget and colleagues are investigating which plant benefits (emotional, mental health & well-being, or economic) bring the most value to different consumer segments.


Bridget gives talks to state, regional, and national businesses and associations involved in many aspects of horticulture, helping to better their marketing and management practices to improve profitability and sustainability. She established a website in 2018 for business professionals interested in research-based information on horticulture marketing. The website features her 5-15 minute podcasts "Marketing Munchies", now in the fourth season in 2021, that can be accessed here (Connect-2-Consumer) or on a favorite podcast provider. Her recent peer-reviewed publications are also available on this website.


Selected Recent Refereed Publications (past 5 years)

 Walters, K.J., R.G. Lopez, and B.K. Behe, and R. Lopez. 2021. Leveraging Controlled-Environment Agriculture to Increase Key Basil Terpenoid and Phenylpropanoid Concentrations: The Effects of Radiation Intensity on Consumer Preference. Frontiers in Plant Science 11:598519. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.598519.

 Knuth, M., B.K. Behe, P. Huddleston, C. Hall, R. Fernandez, and H. Khachatryan. 2020. Water Conserving Messages Influence Consumer Plant Purchase Intentions. Water 12, 3487; doi:10.3390/w12123487.

 Behe, B.K., M. Knuth, P. Huddleston, C. Hall. 2020. Consumer Perceptions of Sale Signs and Prices in the Retail Garden Center. J. Env. Horticulture, 38(4):120–127.

 Behe, B., P. Huddleston, J. Chen, K. Childs, and I. Muraro. 2020. Seeing Through the Forest: The Gaze Path to Purchase. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0240179.

 Montri, D., K. Chung, and B. Behe. 2020. Farmer Perspectives on Farmers Markets in Low-income Urban Areas: A Case Study in Three Michigan Cities. Agriculture and Human Values. DOI: 10.1007/s10460-020-10144-3

 Knuth, M. B. Behe, and P. Huddleston. 2020. Sign Complexity Effects on Purchase and Attractiveness. Interdisciplinary J. of Signage and Wayfinding, 4(2):7-23.

 Owen, W.G. and B.K. Behe. 2020. A National Survey to Identify Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Production Challenges Under Protected Cultivation. Journal of Agriculture and Hemp Research, 1(2), Article 4.

 Walters, K.J., B.K. Behe, C.J. Currey, and R.G. Lopez. 2020. Historical, current, and future perspectives for controlled environment hydroponic food crop production in the U.S. HortScience.

 Torres, A., P. Langenhoven and B. Behe. 2020. Market Segment Profiles of U.S. Melon Consumers. HortScience. 55(4):9 pages.

 McClaren, N., B. Behe, P. Huddleston, and R. Fernandez. 2020. Recycled or reclaimed? The effect of terminology on water reuse perceptions. J. Environmental Psychology. 261: 6 pages.

 Majsztrik, J. B. Behe, C. Hall, D. Ingram, A. Lamm, L. Warner, and S. White. 2019. Social and Economic Aspects of Water Use in Specialty Crop Production: A Review. Water, 11(11), 2337;

 Knuth, M., B. Behe, C. Hall, P. Huddleston, and R. Fernandez. 2019. Sit Back or Dig In? The Role of Activity Level in Landscape Purchase and Enjoyment. HortScience 54(10): 1818-1823.

 Lagoudakis, A., B. Behe, and T. Malone. 2019. Market Segments in the Fresh Balaton Tart Cherry Market in Michigan. AgEcon Search: Research in Agricultural & Applied Economics.

 Torres, A.P., S. Barton, and B.K. Behe. 2019. Evaluating the Business and Owner Characteristics Influencing the Adoption of Online Advertising Strategies in the Green Industry Firms. HortTechnology 29(3):374-381.

 Behe, B.K. and J. Fry. 2019. How do Plant Guarantees Reduce Consumer Risk Perceptions? J. Risk Research. DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2019.1569092

 Dorn, S., L. Bradley, D. Hamrick, J. Weisenhorn, P. Bennett, J. Callabro, B. Behe, E. Bauske, and N. Bumgarner. 2018. The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture: Exploring Research on the Social, Environmental, and Economic Benefits of Consumer Horticulture. HortTechnology, 28(2):414-421.

 Behe, B.K., Knuth, M., C.R. Hall, P.T. Huddleston, and R.T. Fernandez. 2018. Consumer Involvement with and Expertise in Water Conservation and Plants Affect Landscape Plant Purchases, Importance, and Enjoyment. HortScience 53(8): 1164-1171.

 Huddleston, P.T., B.K. Behe, C. Driesener, and S. Minahan. 2018. Inside-out: Using eye-tracking to investigate search-choice in the retail environment. J. Retailing and Consumer Services. 43(C):85-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2018.03.006

 Knuth, M., B. K. Behe, C. R. Hall, R. T. Fernandez, and P. T. Huddleston. 2018. Consumer Perceptions, Attitudes, and Purchase Behavior with Landscape Plants During Real and Perceived Drought Periods. HortScience 53(1):49-54,

 Mundel, J.  B.K. Behe, P.T. Huddleston. 2018. An Eye Tracking Study of Minimally Branded Products: Hedonism and Branding as Predictors of Purchase Intention. J. of Product and Brand Management 27(2):146-157,

 Khachatryan, H., A. Rihn, B. Behe, C. Hall, B. Campbell, J. Dennis, and C. Yue. 2018. Visual Attention, Buying Impulsiveness, and Consumer Behavior. Marketing Letters. DOI:10.1007/s11002-018-9446-9

 Knuth, M., B.K. Behe, C.R. Hall, R.T. Fernandez, and P.T. Huddleston. 2018. Consumer Perceptions of Landscape Plant Production Water Sources and Uses in the Landscape During Perceived and Real Drought. HortTechnology 28(1):85-93.

 Barton, S.S. and B.K. Behe. 2017. Retail promotion and advertising in the green industry: An overview and exploration of the use of digital advertising. HortTechnolgoy 27(1):99-107. DOI

 Torres, A., S.S. Barton and B.K. Behe. 2017. Business and Marketing Practices of U.S. Landscape Firms. HortTechnology 27(6):884-892.

 Bradley, L.K., B.K. Behe, N.R. Bumgarner, C.D. Glen, J.L. Donaldson, E.M. Bauske, S. Dorn, and G. Langellotto. 2017. Assessing the Economic Contributions and Benefits of Consumer Horticulture. HortTechnology 27(5):591-598.

 Khachatryan, H., A. Rihn, B. Campbell, C. Yue, C. Hall, and B. Behe. 2017. Visual Attention to Eco-labels Predicts Consumer Preferences for Pollinator Friendly Plants. Sustainability 9, 1743; doi:10.3390/su9101743.

 Khachatryan, H., A.Rihn, B. Campbell, B. Behe, and C. Hall. 2017. How do Consumer Perceptions of “Local” Production Benefits Influence their visual Attention to State Marketing Programs? Agribusiness 1-17 DOI: 10.1002/agr.21547.

 Zhu, Z., B. Behe, P. Huddleston, and L. Sage. 2017. How do Pricing and the Representation of Price Affect Consumer Evaluation of Nursery Products? A Conjoint Analysis. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. 20(4):477-491. DOI: 10.22434/IFAMR2017.0003

 Behe, B.K., P.T. Huddleston, C.R. Hall, H. Khachatryan, and B. Campbell. 2017. Do Real and Fictitious Plant Brands Differ in Brand Recognition, Awareness, Purchase Intention, and Visual Activity? HortScience 52(4):612-621. DOI 10.21273/HORTSCI11538-16.

 Rihn, A., H. Khachatryan, B. Campbell, C. Hall and B. Behe. 2016. Consumer Preferences for Organic Production Methods and Origin Promotions on Ornamental Plants: Evidence From Eye-tracking Experiments. Agricultural Economics, 47(6):599-608.

 Yue, C., B. Campbell, C. Hall, B. Behe, J. Dennis, and H. Khachatryan. 2016. Consumer Preference for Environment and Origin Attributes in Plants: Evidence from Experimental Auctions. Agribusiness: An International Journal, 32(2): 222-235.

 Campbell, B., C. Hall, B. Behe, H. Khachatryan, J. Dennis. 2016. Crunch the Can or Throw the Bottle? Effect of “Bottle Deposit Laws” and Municipal Recycling Programs. Resources, Conservation, and Recycling, 106(Jan):98-109.

 Palma, M.A., B.K. Behe, C.R. Hall, P.T. Huddleston, and T. Fernandez. 2016.  Tracking Position Premiums in Discrete Choice Experiments. J. Applied Economics. DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2016.1150941.

 Behe, B.K., P.T. Huddleston, and L. Sage. 2016. Age Cohort Influences Brand Recognition, Awareness, and Likelihood to Buy Vegetable and Herb Transplants. HortScience, 51(2):145-151.

 Perez, Maria, Marco Palma, Bridget Behe, and Charles Hall. 2016. Structural Breaks and Future Growth of the Green Industry. J. Environ. Hort., 34(1):52–55.