Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Bacteriophage Technology Treated Fresh Produce
The United States is remarkably safe, when it comes to food supply. Nevertheless, food can become contaminated with a variety of germs. According to reports by a food safety group of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food-borne illness caused by bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella not only take a huge toll on American consumers’ health but they cost the United States an estimated $152 billion annually in health care and other losses. To curb this increasing phenomenon, there has been a reintroduction of bacteriophage in the treatment of bacteria on raw foods. This study utilized a survey questionnaire administered by telephone to consumers in four different states; Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In this study, as in other willingness to pay studies, a binary Logit model was employed to estimate consumers’ WTP an additional amount for fresh produce treated with bateriophage technology. The Logit model expresses consumers’ WTP as a function of income, education, race, gender and geographical location (States). Based on the estimation results, income was found to be significant at the 5 percent level in determining a consumer’s WTP. In this particular study, Caucasians were willing to pay an additional amount relative to other races at the 10 percent significance level. Also, where a consumer lived (State) was found to be significant with consumers in the states of Georgia and North Carolina having higher WTP relative to Alabama and South Carolina.
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