Predicting Consumer Risk Aversions to Synthetic Pesticide Residues: A Logistic Analysis
Growing concerns about pesticide residues in fresh produce could result in increased demand for low-input agriculture with reduced pesticide residues, and decreased demand for conventional fresh produce. The objective of this study was to empirically evaluate consumer concern about pesticide residues and analyze the effect of sociodemographic factors on pesticide residue concern. Two separate surveys were used to provide data about consumer risk perceptions and demographic characteristics. Statistical models using data from both surveys show that females are approximately 9 to 14 percent more likely to be risk averse toward pesticides than males. Furthermore, both surveys indicate that households with children are more likely to be risk averse than those without children. Specifically, the earlier survey (1990) indicates that households with at least one child were 11 percent more likely to be risk averse than households without children. The more recent survey (1997) shows households with two or more children to be 22 percent more likely to be risk averse. Those who frequently purchase organic produce and those who grew vegetables for consumption in their home were both found to be at least 18 percent more likely to be risk averse than those who did not. Individuals over 35 years of age are more likely to have high levels of risk aversion toward pesticide residues and suburban households were found to be 10 percent more likely than rural or urban households to be risk averse. The result also indicated that households with higher levels of income and education generally exhibit lower risk aversions. With sustainable and environmentally safer forms of agriculture likely to comprise a more significant share of the nation’s food production, marketing research must be implemented to ascertain public willingness-to-purchase of such produce. Predicting which consumers are likely to have high concerns about synthetic pesticide residues should be beneficial to identifying those who are more likely to purchase low-input agriculture such as IPM and organically grown produce.
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