Retail market prices of fonio reveal the demand for quality characteristics in Bamako, Mali
African consumers' expectations concerning quality of food products are great. In spite of constrained budgets, we showed that market retailed prices revealed quality preferences of the consumers and not only production costs. In very poor countries like Mali, food innovation is limited by the very low purchasing power of the population. However, technological food product or process innovations are possible and sometimes valuable. Demand driven innovation may lead to open new markets, opportunities for small and medium scale enterprises and to improve consumers' welfare. Based on this assumption, technical research was done to provide new food products. In this paper, using both sensory test and a hedonic price approach, we estimated consumer demand for different characteristics of fonio, a West African cereal, and showed that poor consumers do have quality requirements and actually pay for it. We showed that the shadow or hedonic price paid for quality characteristics is small but significant. A comparison of sensory test and market study showed a convergence between what people say they prefer and what they really pay for. Results were consistent and showed directions for technological improvement of the product and its production process. The Partial Least Square method was used to estimate hedonic prices of the different modalities of fonio quality traits.
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- Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
- Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
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