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The impact of fat content, production methods and carbon footprint information on consumer preferences for minced meat

Koistinen, L., Pouta, E., Heikkilä, J., Forsman-Hugg, S., Kotro, J., Mäkelä, J., Niva, M.
Food quality and preference 2013 v.29 no.2 pp. 126-136
animals, beef, carbon footprint, consumer information, consumer preferences, environmental impact, lipid content, minced meat, pork, prices, willingness to pay, Finland
Growing concern over the environmental impacts and other credence characteristics of food has resulted in increasing interest in the quality attributes of meat products in Finland. The aim of this study was to provide information on the relative preferences of consumers for minced meat attributes. Using a choice experiment, we examined whether the meat type, method of production, fat content, price and presence of carbon footprint information have an impact on consumer choice. A low fat content was found to have a particularly positive effect on the choice of a minced meat product. The carbon footprint information had a significant impact on the meat type-specific consumer preferences: the popularity of beef products decreased and of pork products increased when the footprint information was presented to the consumers. Six heterogeneous consumer classes were identified with latent class analysis: price-conscious (23% of the respondents), fat content-conscious (23%), ideological but passive (17%), content with conventional (14%), beef-preferring (12%) and method of production -conscious consumers (11%). Consumers were generally willing to pay more for a low fat content, but the relative willingness to pay estimates were largely dependent on the consumer groups: premiums for organic and animal welfare-oriented production methods also existed. These attributes could thus represent good means for differentiating minced meat products. The impact of carbon footprint information on the willingness to pay estimates was relatively low.