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Abstract

Consumer preferences for food have drastically changed over the last decades. Other than the nutrient provided by food, they increasingly care about the impact of food production on the environment and society. Consequently, consumers require more information regarding a number of intangible product attributes, such as the amount of fertilizer used, whether the farmer adopted sustainable production practices etc. The objective of this paper is twofold. First, the study seeks to identify sustainable consumer groups by examining their preferences of different tangible and intangible attributes of fresh strawberries. Second, it investigates the effect of consumers’ perceptions for different labels (i.e. organic, local etc.) and their willingness to pay for the examined attributes. This can provide valuable insights to retailers, farmers and policy makers to promote sustainable food production and increase profitability by meeting consumers’ increasing demands for sustainability. The study data set is obtained from a nationwide online survey of U.S consumers. Payment card method combined with ordered probit model is used to estimate consumer WTP. Preliminary results indicate that consumers who frequently purchase groceries in farmers markets or those who subscribe to community support agriculture services are willing to pay more for strawberries labeled intangible attributes.

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