Which livestock production claims matter most to consumers?

Abstract

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in how their food is produced. Many studies have focused on consumers’ preferences and willingness-to-pay for specific production-related claims (labels) on food products. However, few studies have asked consumers to rank the importance of different production claims. In this study, we use a best-worst scaling approach to have consumers rank the importance of seven common production claims used on food products. Rankings are obtained across four product types: beef, milk, chicken, and eggs. Results of the study show that consumers often prefer specific components of more encompassing claims (e.g., animals were not treated with growth hormones, no GMOs used in production) as opposed to the broader, more encompassing claim itself (such as product is certified organic). The majority of preference shares were captured by the top three claims, though the order of these preferences appears to vary for meat and non-meat animals.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    While many studies exist for the production claims selected, we provide some examples of each here: preferences for organic (Kiesel and Villas-Boas 2007; Napolitano et al. 2010); humanely raised (Tonsor et al. 2009; Nocella et al. 2010); grass-fed (Sitz et al. 2005; Xue et al. 2010); no growth hormones (Lusk and Fox 2002; Alfnes and Rickertson 2003); no antibiotics (Lusk et al. 2006); free-range and cage-free (Michel et al. 2011; Heng et al. 2013); and non-GMO (Lusk and Fox 2002).

  2. 2.

    Originally, we designed the survey to look at ground beef and chicken breasts, specifically. However, upon consultation with our data collection partner, we opted to broaden the meat categories so as to not exclude consumers who may purchase beef steaks or chicken drumsticks, for example. For each of these categories, we did ask respondents to specify which types of meat or chicken products they purchase regularly.

  3. 3.

    For more information, visit http://www.clearvoiceresearch.com.

  4. 4.

    For those interested in the MNL results, please refer to Table 4 in the “Appendix” section.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by USDA NIFA #ILLU-470-356 and funding from the American Jersey Cattle Association/National All-Jersey, Inc.

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Correspondence to Brenna Ellison.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 4.

Table 4 MNL estimates and preference shares for production claims by product block

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Ellison, B., Brooks, K. & Mieno, T. Which livestock production claims matter most to consumers?. Agric Hum Values 34, 819–831 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-017-9777-9

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Keywords

  • Livestock production claims
  • Best-worst scaling
  • Consumer preference
  • Labeling