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Abstract

Beef is the most commonly consumed red meat and a major source of protein for US consumers. High-quality beef products are sold with substantial premiums, but the specific beef attributes by which high-quality standards are determined remain ambivalent. Most attribute studies have focused on palatability characteristics such as tenderness, juiciness, fatness, or marbling. More recent research finds increasing consumer interest in beef attributes that are not directly taste-related, such as food safety, organic, environmental impacts, local production, or DNA traceability. However, these studies have focused on a single non-taste attribute. Questions remain as to which of those attributes might have more of an influence on consumer preferences for beef products and whether there are interactions between these attributes in terms of consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the beef product in question. This study uses results from a national survey of consumers to examine how the presence of multiple quality indicators of attributes influence WTP for beef products, which of these attributes have a relatively greater impact on consumer choice, and how these impacts vary based on consumer demographics. A WTP space modeling framework is used to analyze the survey data, allowing for variability and scaling of preferences.

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