Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HUI Working Papers,
HUI Research

No 12: The Marginal Willingness-to-Pay for Health Related Food Characteristics

Linda Thunström ()
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Linda Thunström: The Swedish Retail Institute (HUI), Postal: Regeringsgatan 60, 103 29 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: With food, consumers often face a trade-off between taste and nutrition. A priori, it is not obvious which would be more important to the average consumer, so it is an empirical question how consumers value food characteristics that simultaneously affect taste and nutritional value. In this paper, Swedish consumer preferences regarding food characteristics in breakfast cereals, hard bread and potato products are analyzed. In particular, the value consumers attach to fat, fibre, salt and sugar is studied, as well as the value of easily accessible nutritional information provided by a nutrition symbol. The equations estimated are derived from a hedonic price model. The price data originates from a household panel and scanner data, whereas the corresponding data on food characteristics was collected manually in supermarkets or from producers. The value consumers attach to food characteristics are found to vary by product and the results also imply that these values could be sensitive to changes in the combination of characteristics in a product.

Keywords: hedonic pricing; willingness to pay; food characteristics

JEL-codes: D12; I10

26 pages, November 6, 2007

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