Consumers want safer meat - but not at all costs
Consumers, the public authorities, and the food industry are all concerned with the safety of meat. The increasing demand for safer food from the consumers and the public authorities puts pressure on producers to identify efficient methods to reduce risks. Earlier studies have shown that consumers state a willingness to pay for safer meat – but we know very little about how different methods to reduce risks affect the consumers’ preferences for safer meat. In the present study, a choice experiment for a representative sample of the Danish population was conducted to elicit whether consumers’ willingness to pay for reducing the risks of Salmonella infections was affected by the specific risk reduction methods (risk reductions using the current policy, at farm level, or decontamination at slaughterhouse using water/steam or lactic acid). More specifically, the consumers were asked to choose between different packages of minced pork that differed with respect to Salmonella risks, risk reduction method, and price. The sample consisted of 844 Danish consumers, who answered a questionnaire over the internet. Our results indicate that consumers demand safer meat, but not at all costs – there is a limit to what they will pay and they care about how the risk reduction is obtained. They prefer risk reductions to take place at farm level followed by decontaminations using water/steam and (least preferred) lactic acid.
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