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Heterogeneous informational and attitudinal impacts on consumer preferences for eggs from welfare enhanced cage systems

Cao, Ying (Jessica), John Cranfield, Chen Chen and Tina Widowski

Food Policy, 2021, vol. 99, issue C

Abstract: Consumers ascribing value to animal welfare related attributes has become a common interest for various stakeholders. This study investigated heterogeneous consumer preferences for eggs from the welfare enhanced production systems, and further, how the effects of information regarding these production systems depended on consumers’ previous purchase experience and initial perceptions. A nationally representative sample of respondents completed a self-reported survey and a set of discrete choice experiments on egg products. Respondents were randomly assigned into two groups, with one group being offered additional information regarding the pros and cons of each housing system on various aspects (i.e., animal welfare and environmental impacts). Using the conditional logit models, results showed that consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for egg attributes depended on previous purchase experience. Those who had purchased cage-free eggs before were willing to pay up to $1.39/dozen higher premium for the advanced cages. Furthermore, the informational impacts depended on consumers’ purchase experience and initial perceptions. Inexperienced consumers were more responsive to information compared to the experienced consumers. The mixed information decreased price premium by up to 75%. Inexperienced consumers with higher perceived importance on welfare or environmental issues showed even more preference updates. While the prior attitudes helped the experienced consumers to differentiate across products, additional information lowered these attitudinal effects. These results implied that information that aimed to educate the general public had higher marginal effects on the inexperienced consumers than on the experienced ones.

Keywords: Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE); Information impact; Purchase decision; Consumption experience; Perception; Food marketing; Animal welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.101979

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