Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HUI Working Papers,
HUI Research

No 25: Consumer Values of Health-Related Food Symbols and Chemical Food Additives - The Case of Breakfast Cereals

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

Abstract: In this paper we analyze consumers’ revealed values of food symbols indicating nutritious and organic food, as well as consumers’ revealed values for chemical food additives. We do so by estimating a hedonic price function based on a rich data set on breakfast cereal purchases. Our findings suggest that consumers positively value chemical food additives in breakfast cereals, suggesting that the positive taste effect from e.g. chemical taste enhancers, emulsifiers, colourings and preservatives outweighs consumers’ health concerns regarding such additives. We find no evidence that consumers positively value the symbol indicating nutritious food. In addition, surprisingly enough, our results imply that consumers have a negative willingness-to-pay for the symbol indicating organic food.

Keywords: consumer economics; hedonic pricing; food labelling; food additives

JEL-codes: D12; I10

21 pages, December 1, 2009

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