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An exploratory analysis of US consumer preferences for North American pawpaw

Abstract

The North American pawpaw (Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal) is a high-value native specialty fruit crop that offers multiple opportunities for commercial value-added products. A survey was conducted to obtain a better understanding of consumer preferences for pawpaws as fresh and value-added food products. The survey was distributed to 524 individuals who were members of the North American Pawpaw Growers Association, attendees of the 2016 International Pawpaw Conference at Frankfurt, Kentucky, and participants at the 2017 Ohio Pawpaw Festival, Albany, Ohio. Respondents were asked to self-identify their positions (consumers or producers) in the pawpaw market. Those who self-identified as consumers were asked to take the survey. A total of 192 responses were collected. Survey results indicated that the majority of the respondents consume fresh or value-added pawpaw products at least once a year. They reported strong preferences for the flavor and texture of fresh pawpaws. Price, origin, and type of production process had statistically significant impacts on consumers’ purchase preferences. The characteristic that most influenced demand was local production—consumers were willing to pay a premium of $5.20/kg for locally produced pawpaws compared to pawpaws of unknown region of origin. Consumers also preferred certified organic and pesticide-free pawpaws to fruit produced using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The average price premiums consumers were willing to pay for certified organic and pesticide-free fruits were $4.19 and $3.28/kg, respectively. Providing information about the region of origin, organic and pesticide-free production processes can potentially increase consumer demand for pawpaws and their share of the fresh and value-added fruit market.

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Acknowledgements

This research is supported by the MU Center for Agroforestry and the US Department of Agriculture: Agriculture Research Service (Agreement No. 00054685).

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Correspondence to Zhen Cai.

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Cai, Z., Gold, M. & Brannan, R. An exploratory analysis of US consumer preferences for North American pawpaw. Agroforest Syst 93, 1673–1685 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-018-0296-5

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Keywords

  • Organic
  • Pesticide-free
  • Locally produced
  • Price premium
  • Value-added food products
  • Market shares
  • Discrete choice experiment