Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Blemished Fresh Produce and Its Implications for Food Waste

In recent years, food waste has become an increasingly discussed topic in both developed and developing countries. In developed countries, approximately 222 million tons of food is wasted at the consumer level per year (FAO, 2011). These amounts of food waste have large social, economic, and environmental impacts. Studies have shown that one of the main causes of food waste in developed countries is consumer preferences toward food appearances. In fresh fruit and produce, consumers have elevated expectations for appearances and will reject those that are blemished. In this study, we estimate consumer willingness to pay for sweet potatoes with five different skinning injury levels in a Vickrey 2nd price non- hypothetical auction. Our experimental controls include treatments designed to test whether consumer knowledge (1) about the relationship between blemished produce and food waste and (2) about the environmental impacts of food waste influence willingness to pay for blemished produce. We find that consumer bids increased after gaining knowledge about food waste and its environmental implications. This study has implications for governmental agencies as they further research methods and opportunities to mitigate food waste at various sources of the supply chain system, most specifically, at the consumer and farmer levels.

Issue Date:
Jan 16 2018
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
D12; D44; Q51

 Record created 2018-01-16, last modified 2018-01-22

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