Preferences of Scotch malt whisky consumers for changes in pesticide use and origin of barley
In a case study related to Scotch malt whisky production, this study analyses consumers’ perceptions and preferences regarding two aspects that have emerged in the debate on sustainable production and consumption, and on environmentally responsible food choice, namely (i) the use of pesticides in agriculture, and (ii) the provenance of food ingredients. We carried out a choice experiment to investigate preferences and estimate Willingness to Pay of Scotch malt whisky consumers for pesticide use restrictions and the potential impact on the production of one of its essential ingredients, barley. Using latent class models, we find that about half of the respondents are non-demanders with respect to both attributes, and only a third of the sample population are willing to pay for further pesticide restrictions. Demand for more environmentally responsible production of Scotch malt whisky is therefore limited, indicating that in the case of Scotch malt whisky, consumers are not likely to be key to driving sustainable production. With respect to barley provenance, being able to claim a 100% Scottish product could be a plausible commercial option for some producers to pursue in a competitive market. Methodologically, the scale-adjusted latent class model proved to be successful in uncovering preference heterogeneity and its sources, in including non-demanders in the analysis and in accounting for differences in scale amongst respondents.
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