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Tasty or Sustainable? The Effect of Product Sensory Experience on a Sustainable New Food Product: An Application of Discrete Choice Experiments on Chianina Tinned Beef

Biancamaria Torquati (), Tiziano Tempesta (), Daniel Vecchiato and Sonia Venanzi ()
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Biancamaria Torquati: Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, 06121 Perugia, Italy
Tiziano Tempesta: Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
Sonia Venanzi: Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, 06121 Perugia, Italy

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 8, 1-24

Abstract: This study aims to contribute to the existing literature by verifying whether the degree of liking of a new food product influences people’s preferences and willingness to pay from a discrete choice experiment when dealing with sustainable food products. To this purpose, we considered the case study of the introduction into the Italian market of a new food product: tinned Chianina meat. Among the attributes considered for this new product, two in particular were related to sustainability: organic breeding and the preservation of a traditional rural landscape. Half of the respondents underwent a sensory test before taking part in the hypothetical market (discrete choice experiment), while the remaining were administered the tests in reverse order. Tasting the product before the discrete choice experiment did not produce different willingness to pay (WTP) parameters as estimated by a taste factor interaction. However, separating the respondents into those who liked or disliked the product in the tasting condition revealed differences in willingness to pay results. The preferences are different for more than 50% of the attributes considered, and the magnitude of this difference is quite relevant. The WTP for one well known and certified sustainability related attribute—organic breeding—was not affected by the liking, while, for the other—the preservation of a traditional rural landscape—the effect of liking decreases the WTP. As a consequence, we suggest that tasting and liking studies should be routinely coupled with discrete choice studies when analyzing the introduction of new food products, especially when considering sustainable attributes in the experimental design. In the case of organic products where the expectations about taste are higher, neglecting to consider their sensory perception, along with the other discrete choice experiment attributes, could seriously undermine their long lasting success on the market.

Keywords: sensory test; discrete choice model; hedonic scale; Chianina cattle; meat; organic; marketing; consumer preference; landscape; sustainable agriculture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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