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Consumers reveal preferences for fresh beef attributes through their retail beef purchases. Hedonic pricing methods were used to estimate the value consumers place on observable characteristics of fresh beef products, especially on retail beef brands. Primary data were collected from 65 randomly generated grocery stores located in three metropolitan areas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Denver, Colorado. Retail beef package data were collected on 462 ground products, 175 roast products, and 756 steak products. There was some evidence retail beef brands command a price premium compared with unbranded, generic products. In this study, branding programs classified as “special” (i.e. no antibiotics, no hormones, all natural) offered the largest price premiums, but “other” types of branding programs offered price premiums as well. Price premiums for special brands were $1.45/lb. for ground products and $5.87/lb. for steak products. Labeling variables were not consistently significant in this study, indicating that labels associated with a brand name might offer consumers the most reassurance for their purchasing decision. The most important attributes affecting retail price per pound of ground beef products are store location (metropolitan area), store type, type of product, fat content, package size and type, expiration dates, brands and labels. Store location (metropolitan area) was important but store type was less important for explaining steak items than ground items. Steak prices were influenced by cut type, USDA quality grade, package size and type, and slightly by expiration date.


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