Assessing consumer willingness to pay for Arctic food products

Published on Apr 1, 2020in Food Policy4.189
· DOI :10.1016/J.FOODPOL.2020.101846
Yang Yang3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy),
Jill E. Hobbs32
Estimated H-index: 32
(U of S: University of Saskatchewan),
David C. Natcher19
Estimated H-index: 19
(U of S: University of Saskatchewan)
Abstract The food industry increasingly seeks to differentiate food products based on sustainability assurances, the use of traditional or ‘authentic’ production methods, a unique origin, or an association with a distinct cultural identity, often relying on certification to enhance the credibility of a quality claim. The natural conditions of the Arctic circumpolar region, its pristine environment, and the relational tie to Indigenous cultures in many circumpolar Arctic nations, distinguish Arctic foods from other commercially available foods, however, little is known about how consumers respond to foods from the Arctic. This paper examines consumers’ perceptions of and willingness to pay (WTP) for foods originating from the Canadian Arctic, and their receptivity to certification for sustainability, authenticity, and origin in the presence of multiple credence attributes. Data from an online survey of 1342 Canadian consumers show that preferences for Arctic foods are driven by the unique geographic origin and a connection with Indigenous cultures and traditions, as well as a desire to improve social and economic conditions in northern Canada. A discrete choice experiment featuring Arctic char elicits consumers’ WTP for attributes related to origin, certification, wild vs farmed fish, and Indigenous vs non-Indigenous fishers. Random parameters logit and generalized mixed logit models allow for both preference and scale heterogeneity. The analysis informs strategies to promote the Arctic food system, both from a Canadian regional economic development context and across the broader Arctic circumpolar region. Limitations imposed by the current seafood labelling regulatory environment in Canada are noted.
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