Determining Consumer Perceptions of and Willingness to Pay or Appalachian Grass-fed Beef: An Experimental Economics Approach

The U.S. market for commoditized beef is a dynamic one that has, over the last 30 years, seen decreases in per capita consumption and an increased reliance on large, integrated feedlot facilities that focus on efficient weight gain and producing carcasses deemed desirable according the USDA quality grading system. Because of the problems inherent in the conventional production system and the existence of farm-to-retail price spreads that do not favor primary cow-calf producers, analyses of alternative beef production and marketing strategies that facilitate enhanced profitability and simultaneously address surging consumer demand for specialty food products are necessary. To that end, focus of the current study was on the market potential for grass-fed beef products in the Appalachian region, given that these products embody observed, experience, nutritional, and process attributes that may appeal to a large consumer base. Specifically, a variant of the Becker-DeGroot-Marschack experimental auction mechanism was employed in grocery stores in Morgantown, WV and Pittsburgh, PA in order to determine consumer preferences and willingness to pay for grass-fed steak and ground beef products. A majority of beef consumers sampled preferred the grass-fed products in both steak and ground beef experiments and were willing to pay a price premium in order to obtain them. It was concluded that consumers would respond positively to the availability of these products in the retail sector, based largely on their superior nutritional content and core observed attributes.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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