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Locally Grown Oysters in Hawai‘i: Chef Preference and Local Premium?

Chen, Jessie Q., Haws, Maria C., Fong, Quentin S. W., Leung, PingSun
Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 2017 v.48 no.6 pp. 972-980
freshness, logit analysis, marketing strategies, markets, menu planning, oysters, prices, questionnaires, restaurants, shellfish, surveys, willingness to pay
Locally grown oysters became available in Hawai‘i in 2014, for the first time in decades. It is unclear if these bivalve shellfish will successfully infiltrate the market when imported products similar in nature have long been the only source of fresh, shell stock products. This study investigates chef preferences for oyster attributes to determine marginal willingness to pay for locally grown oysters. A survey containing a questionnaire and a choice experiment was administered to restaurant chefs throughout Hawai‘i who currently offer oysters on their menus. The study examines trade‐offs made between attributes related to price, growout site, freshness, and supply constancy, respectively. Responses were aggregated and data were fit to a random parameters logit model. Results suggest that respondents derive the most utility from oysters that are fresh, grown locally, and supplied on an as‐available basis. The least desired products are, therefore, those that are frozen, imported from foreign sources, and supplied on a set schedule. Chefs are willing to pay an additional $5.25 for one dozen oysters that are grown locally. This evidence of an existing price premium indicates that labeling local oysters as such may be a valuable marketing strategy.