Get real: an analysis of student preference for real food
The Real Food Challenge is a national student movement in the United States (U.S.) that aims to shift $1 billion—roughly 20%—of college and university food budgets across the country towards local, ecologically sound, fair, and humane food sources—what they call “real” food—by 2020. The University of Vermont (UVM) was the fifth university in the U.S. to sign the Real Food Campus Commitment, pledging to shift at least 20% of its own food budget towards “real” food by 2020. In order to examine student preference for “real” food on the UVM campus, we analyzed a survey of 904 undergraduate students that used contingent valuation to evaluate students’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the “real” attribute. We found that a majority of students are willing to pay a positive premium for “real” food. Furthermore, we found that student characteristics and attitudes significantly influence WTP. Specifically, gender, residency, college, and attitudes about price and origin of food are significant predictors of WTP.
KeywordsWillingness-to-pay Real food challenge Contingent valuation University dining Student values Credence attribute
College of agriculture and life sciences
College of arts and sciences
College of engineering and mathematical sciences
College of education and social services
College of nursing and health sciences
Institutional review board
Real food challenge
Real food working group
Rubenstein school of environment and natural resources
School of business administration
United States of America
University of vermont
Willingness to pay
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