Joint Production of Safer, Cleaner and Animal Friendlier Beef: Do Consumers Join it Too? - Insights from Focus Groups
Consumers’ motivations and behaviour towards food safety, animal welfare and the environment in beef production and beef products were discussed in several focus groups, within a broader research program aiming at determining Portuguese consumers’ willingness to pay for safer, cleaner and animal friendlier beef. Regarding the supply context, food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection are, to some extent, jointly produced within beef production systems. From the demand perspective there are also reasons to believe consumers aren’t able to separately value each one of these outputs of beef production. Due to considerable difficulties in production costs allocation as well as willingness to pay valuation, there are therefore reasons to jointly value them in a multi-dimensional package. Six focus groups were used to elicit how respondents perceive and talk about these topics and to provide insights into their motivations towards beef. Results show that respondents often refer intrinsic attributes as determinants of beef quality. The main quality cues at the moment of purchase include appearance, expiration date and price. Beef safety is generally taken for granted. However, concerns include hormones, antibiotics and slaughter hygiene. Environmental concerns are mainly linked with pollution and recycling. Animal welfare concerns include transportation, slaughtering and rearing conditions. There are mixed reactions when it comes to willingness to pay premiums for any of the three given attributes. Participants refer preferences for products with bundles of these attributes, thus reinforcing the need to jointly value such complex and jointly produced attributes.
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