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Keywords:

  • choice experiment;
  • conditional and mixed logit;
  • functional food;
  • multiple health benefits;
  • willingness to pay

ABSTRACT:  Recent trends in the marketing of functional foods suggest that multiple-benefit products are becoming more common. Yet it is unclear which consumers are most interested in, or best served by, such novel or new generation functional foods. With emerging scientific evidence of efficacy and more diverse products offered for sale, a broader range of consumers are likely to become interested in dietary interventions to enhance health. Consumers will likely respond based on a range of motivation, health conditions, and knowledge levels suggesting “one size will not fit all.” Given such an evolving marketing environment, this paper presents 1 research technique exploring differences in consumer preferences and valuations for a novel functional food product—a tomato juice containing soy. A discrete choice experiment is applied to examine consumer valuation of this novel functional food. Data were collected from 1704 households in Ohio through a mail survey. The choice experiment manipulates whether or not the product is organic, whether it contains natural or fortified nutrients, and product price. Estimates of consumer willingness to pay a premium price are based on conditional logit and mixed logit models, which permit an examination of consumer preference and valuation heterogeneity for key product attributes. Results indicate that health benefits and ingredient naturalness are positively valued, but such preferences and valuations depend on an individual's education, income, and food purchase behavior. Naturally occurring nutrients are preferred over fortification. Considerable heterogeneity is found in the data suggesting that a range of market segments may exist.