Hispanic Consumers’ Preferences and Willingness-to-Pay for Grass-Fed Beef in Virginia
The primary objective of this dissertation is to determine Hispanic consumers’ preferences and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for grass-fed beef. Two hundred and thirty-one Hispanic consumers in four experiment sites in Virginia (Galax, Roanoke, Richmond, and Blacksburg) participated in an experimental economics laboratory procedure. Taste tests and visual evaluations were conducted to understand Hispanic consumers’ sensory preferences for grass-fed beef in comparison to conventional grain-fed beef. A contingent valuation method, Multiple Price Lists (MPL) was used to measure Hispanic consumers’ WTP for grass-fed beef. In the study, MPL was put into a non-hypothetical environment due to real products, real money, and actual transactions involved.
A bivariate Probit model was estimated to determine Hispanic consumers’ visual and taste preferences for grass-fed beef and to explore the relationship between their expected and experienced quality of grass-fed beef. A two-step decision process examined Hispanic consumers’ WTP and investigated the factors influencing their valuations on grass-fed beef. Approximately 50% of Hispanic consumers sampled preferred grass-fed to conventional grain-fed beef steak and the vast majority of grass-fed preferring consumers were willing to pay a price premium for it. Hispanic consumers were able to distinguish the appearance and taste between grass-fed and conventional grain-fed beef steaks. A positive correlation between visual and taste preferences for grass-fed beef was captured.