CONSUMER PREFERENCES FOR PATHOGEN-REDUCING TECHNOLOGIES IN BEEF1

Authors


  • 1

    Contribution no. 01-391-J of the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station. This research is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 99-34211-7378 (Food Safety Consortium).

2 Correspondent author: Ping Zhang, Ph.D., Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66502-4011, TEL: (770) 488-5842; FAX: (770) 488-5966; E-mail: paz2@cdc.gov.

ABSTRACT

Two surveys were conducted by mail to evaluate consumers’ preferences for beef treated by the steam and hot-water pasteurization technologies, in a comparison with beef treated by irradiation and nontechnology treated “regular” beef. More than 64% of the respondents reported that they preferred ground beef treated by irradiation to that treated by the two pathogen-reducing technologies. More than 87% of the respondents stated that they preferred ground beef treated by the two technologies to nontechnology treated beef. Sixty percent of the respondents reported that they were willing to pay for beef treated by the two pathogen-reducing technologies with an averaged willingness-to-pay of 0.36/lb over nontechnology treated beef. Compared with their counterparts; women, those having a better self-reported health status, and those with children at home (≥ 18 years of age) were more likely to report a preference for beef treated by the two heat-related pasteurization technologies. The income level of the respondents was negatively associated with their preference for beef treated by the two heat-related pasteurization technologies. The strong consumer preference coupled with willingness-to-pay for beef treated by the two pathogen-reducing technologies, suggest that consumers are willing to bear the cost of using these technologies if beef packers would invest in such technologies as a means of improving the quality of their products.

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