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This paper investigates fresh meat consumption in Belgium during 1995-1998 through the specification of a three-equation almost ideal demand system (AIDS) incorporating a media index of TV coverage and advertising expenditures as explanatory variables. Estimated parameters and elasticity coefficients are plausible and consistent with demand theory. Own-price elasticities are relatively low, indicating a low fresh meat demand sensitivity to price changes over this period which was dominated by mass media reports about the potential health risks associated with meat consumption. The scope of the paper extends beyond the estimation of elasticity coefficients and includes the specification of a media index and simulations that provide insights into the impact of negative press relative to advertising efforts. Specifically, the impact of television publicity is shown to have been particularly negative on beef/veal expenditures in favour of pork/mixture. This finding conoborates expectations since mass media issues mainly pertained to BSE (mad cow disease) and hormone residues during the investigated period. With relatively little effort being undertaken and with its cunent strategy, fresh meat advertising is found to have only a minor impact compared with negative press.© 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


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