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Food Sustainability and Waste Reduction in Spain: Consumer Preferences for Local, Suboptimal, And/Or Unwashed Fresh Food Products

Azucena Gracia () and Miguel I. Gómez ()
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Azucena Gracia: Unidad de Economía Agroalimentaria y de los Recursos Naturales, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
Miguel I. Gómez: Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 10, 1-15

Abstract: Improving food sustainability and reducing food waste are among the top challenges for achieving global sustainable development. In particular, changes towards more sustainable consumption are of vital importance in creating a more sustainable world. To shed light on these issues, we analyze to what extent and how consumers’ food preferences move towards more sustainable behavior. We assess the importance consumers attach to the following critical sustainable attributes of food related to food waste: (i) “Visual imperfections”, (ii) “washed/unwashed”, (iii) “size”, (iv) “locally produced”, and (v) “price”. We hypothesize that consumer preferences for these attributes are heterogeneous. Therefore, we segmented consumers into homogenous groups according to preferences for these sustainability attributes. To do this, we employed a direct ranking preference method using data gathered in an experiment conducted with consumers living in a mid-sized town in the northeast of Spain in 2018. The results suggest a high degree of consumer heterogeneity, and we identified four clusters according to the importance consumers attach to these attributes. The results are encouraging for the promotion of sustainability because different groups of consumers might prefer to purchase food products with different sustainable characteristics, such as locally grown, foods with visual imperfections, and minimally processed foods.

Keywords: fresh potatoes; Spain; attribute importance; rank-ordered mixed logit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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