The Marginal Willingness-to-Pay for Health Related Food Characteristics

37 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2010

See all articles by Gordon C. Rausser

Gordon C. Rausser

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Linda Thunström

The Swedish Retail Institute

Date Written: November 25, 2009

Abstract

Food consumers often face a trade-off between taste and nutrition. This paper examines how consumers value food characteristics that simultaneously affect taste and nutritional value. As a case study, we focus on Swedish consumer preferences for food characteristics in breakfast cereals, hard bread, and potato products. We estimate the value attached to fat, fiber, salt and sugar and the value of easily accessible nutritional information provided by a nutrition symbol. The results suggest consumers have context-dependent preferences for food characteristics; consumers who prefer nutrition over taste for some ingredient in a specific product may prefer taste over nutrition for other products. Consumer values of food characteristics also seem sensitive to changes in the mix of characteristics in a product. For instance, additional fiber may be positively valued for products high in taste enhancers, such as salt. Consumers may therefore prefer nutrition over taste as long as the product is tasty.

Keywords: consumer economics, hedonic pricing, willingness to pay, food characteristics, health

JEL Classification: D12, I1

Suggested Citation

Rausser, Gordon C. and Thunström, Linda, The Marginal Willingness-to-Pay for Health Related Food Characteristics (November 25, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1513528 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1513528

Gordon C. Rausser (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

207 Giannini Hall no. 3310
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-6591 (Phone)
510-643-0287 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://are.berkeley.edu/~rausser/

Linda Thunström

The Swedish Retail Institute ( email )

Regeringsgatan 60
103 29 Stockholm
Sweden

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