The economic potential for an origin based marketing and certification system for a meat product in South Africa: Perceptions, preferences, and experiments
The difference between hypothetical and real values when evaluating consumers’ preferences (termed ‘hypothetical bias’) has received significant attention in scientific literature, as the outcome of this bias is often an overestimation of willingness to pay (WTP) values. This is the main focus of this paper as we unpack South African consumers’ perceptions and preferences for an origin based meat product through a set of different methodologies. These different approaches (sensory analysis, perception analysis, conjoint analysis, experimental auction and an in-store experiment) are all employed to illustrate the ‘hypothetical bias’ but also to establish beyond any doubt the market potential for a specific origin based meat product and also to test the consumers’ willingness to pay a premium, and the range of the premium obtained from different methodologies. This paper presents the results of a number of studies applying different methods related to the same product but with different groups of consumers in different locations. The different results suggest that there is sufficient evidence that suggest that the regional identity of the product is important. It is further also evident that the various willingness to pay estimates presented different results. It is however clear that the stated preference methods confirm the hypothesis that consumers recognise the reputation of the product and will be willing to pay premium. This conclusion is strengthened by the positive results from the stated preference methods (the experimental auction and in-store experiment). Together these results present a strong case for the marketing potential of origin based mutton / lamb which could sell at a price premium similar or slightly higher than comparable existing luxury and niche lamb brands on the South African market.
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