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Does taste beat food safety? Evidence from the “Pera Rocha” case in Portugal

  • Combris, Pierre
  • Pinto, Alexandra Seabra
  • Fragata, Antonio
  • Giraud-Heraud, Eric

Until recently, fresh fruits such as pears were provided to markets as generic products. However, these products are now differentiated by cultivars, origins and appearances, as well as by companies’ production and processing methods. Therefore, we observe a lot of denominations of origin, retailers’ and private labels in order to signal the differentiation to the consumers, who are often willing to pay large price premiums for products with specific attributes. Indeed the value consumers put on fruits depends on the degree of product-information that are available to them and this information derives mainly from tasting and from the label of the products. In this paper, we used an experimental auction to investigate how quality attributes information affects consumers’ willingness to pay for different types of pears, particularly choosing the Portuguese "Rocha" pear variety. The BDM auction mechanism was combined with sensory analyses in order to develop an integrated approach to evaluate product attributes. The main results show that information on the products’ characteristics related to food safety instantly influences consumers’ willingness to pay. However, it appears that sensory intrinsic attributes related to taste finally beats the guarantee of food safety in driving the buying behaviour.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/7879
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Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 105th Seminar, March 8-10, 2007, Bologna, Italy with number 7879.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa105:7879
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  1. Fox, John A. & Shogren, Jason F. & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James B., 1995. "Chapter 06: EXPERIMENTAL AUCTIONS TO MEASURE WILLINGNESS TO PAY FOR FOOD SAFETY," Valuing Food Safety and Nutrition (1995), Regional Research Project NE-165 Private Strategies, Public Policies, and Food System Performance, number 25986.
  2. Fox, John A & Hayes, Dermot J & Shogren, Jason F, 2002. " Consumer Preferences for Food Irradiation: How Favorable and Unfavorable Descriptions Affect Preferences for Irradiated Pork in Experimental Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 75-95, January.
  3. Hayes, Dermot J. & Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Kliebenstein, James, 1995. "Valuing Food Safety in Experimental Auction Markets," Staff General Research Papers 835, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Jill E. Hobbs & Kim Sanderson & Morteza Haghiri, 2006. "Evaluating Willingness-to-Pay for Bison Attributes: An Experimental Auction Approach," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(2), pages 269-287, 06.
  5. Fox, John A. & Shogren, J. & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James, 1995. "Experimental Auctions to Measure Willingness to Pay for Food Safety," Staff General Research Papers 5343, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Klaus G. Grunert, 2005. "Food quality and safety: consumer perception and demand," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 369-391, September.
  7. repec:jaa:jagape:v:30:y:1998:i:1:p:69-82 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Shogren, Jason F. & Fox, John A. & Hayes, Dermot J. & Roosen, Jutta, 1999. "Observed Choices For Food Safety in Retail, Survey and Auction Markets," Staff General Research Papers 5024, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Roosen, Jutta & Fox, John A. & Hennessy, David A. & Schreiber, Alan, 1998. "Consumers' Valuation Of Insecticide Use Restrictions: An Application To Apples," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 23(02), December.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855167 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Noussair, Charles & Robin, Stephane & Ruffieux, Bernard, 2004. "Revealing consumers' willingness-to-pay: A comparison of the BDM mechanism and the Vickrey auction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 725-741, December.
  12. Spencer Henson, 1996. "Consumer Willingness To Pay For Reductions In The Risk Of Food Poisoning In The Uk," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1-4), pages 403-420.
  13. James Mintert & Jayson Lusk & John Fox & Mohammad Koohmaraie & Ted Schroeder, 2001. "In-store valuation of steak tenderness," Framed Field Experiments 00186, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Buzby, Jean C. & Fox, John A. & Ready, Richard C. & Crutchfield, Stephen R., 1998. "Measuring Consumer Benefits Of Food Safety Risk Reductions," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(01), July.
  15. Shogren, Jason F., 1993. "Experimental Markets And Environmental Policy," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 22(2), October.
  16. Neal H. Hooker & Julie A. Caswell, 1996. "Trends in food quality regulation: Implications for processed food trade and foreign direct investment," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(5), pages 411-419.
  17. Frode Alfnes & Kyrre Rickertsen, 2003. "European Consumers' Willingness to Pay for U.S. Beef in Experimental Auction Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 396-405.
  18. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
  19. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-377937 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Bazoche Pascale & Giraud-Héraud Eric & Soler Louis-Georges, 2005. "Premium Private Labels, Supply Contracts, Market Segmentation, and Spot Prices," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, February.
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