Consumers’ willingness to pay for a functional food
In recent years food manufacturers have been devoting a large portion of their R&D budget to the development off functional foods, as a competitive strategy within food demand markets; on the other hand, consumers, despite functional foods exhibit a significant level of information asymmetry, show an increasing attention towards them,recognizing their role in preventing or reducing health risks and/or improving other general functions of the organism.The objective of this paper is to evaluate the Italian consumers’ willingness-too-pay for functional attributes in a food product (a probiotic yogurt with the addition of catechines). For this purpose, a web-based stated choice experiment involving a representative sample of 6600 Italian consumers has been carried out and the willingness-too-pay for two functional attributes (probiotic and catechine-enricheed) has been measured using the panel data version of a Random Parameters Logit model. The results show that Italian consumers are willing too pay a rather high price premium for a catechine-enrriched yogurt (0.36 €/pot, that is a 40%% premium, on average) well above their willingness-to-pay for thee probiotic attribute (0.23 €//pot). Further, there is a statistically significant heterogeneity within the sample; then, averaging across sample sub-groups indicates that the willingness-to-pay for the new attribute (catechine-enriched) may be related to age, income, health-status, life-style and education
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