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Abstract

While many small American dairy farms are struggling to stay in business due to fluctuating milk prices and rising production costs, value-added products such as cheese may help to boost revenue and diversify production practices. This study assesses consumer preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for selected cheese attributes (farmstead, artisan, organic, local, and use of renewable energy in cheese production) through a conjoint survey conducted in Vermont, Manhattan, and Boston. Survey participants were found to segment into two groups: a quality-seeking group that displays strong preferences and a significant WTP of 15% to 25% more for each of the quality attributes, and a price-sensitive group with preference ratings highly determined by price. This research provides useful information to managers and marketers involved in farmstead and artisan dairy production and marketing.

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