Consumer Awareness and Willingness to Pay for High-Pressure Processing of Ready-to-Eat Food
Journal of Food Science Education Volume 8, Number 2, ISSN 1541-4329
Commercial, nonthermal processing of food, such as high hydrostatic-pressure processing (HPP), has increased. The safety and quality of foods produced by HPP has not been well communicated to the public. An online, nationwide consumer survey was implemented to assess awareness of alternative food processing technologies, consumer food safety attitudes and knowledge, and willingness to pay (WTP) for HPP products. The consumer survey was administered by Zoomerang[TM], an online survey clearinghouse. The survey was completed by 1204 adults. Frequencies and crosstabs were calculated on Zoomerang and SPSS used for one-way ANOVA and chi-square analyses. The survey assessed knowledge of HPP, attitudes about new food processing techniques, WTP for HPP foods and demographics. Overall, many demographic characteristics reflected U.S. census population. While traditional methods, that is, canning, freezing, and microwaving were all well recognized by over 80% of respondents, only 8% recognized HPP. Trends indicated an increase in age, education, and income reflected greater food safety knowledge. Regardless of demographics, no survey respondent exhibited knowledge mastery (80%). Given an explanation of HPP and its benefits, 39% of respondents indicated they would be WTP an additional cost, with higher income and education having the most impact. Majority of respondents indicated a WTP of $0.25 to $0.50 regardless of the value of the food product. More respondents were WTP slightly more for a more expensive product. New technologies often encounter a stumbling block in consumer acceptance and processing costs. A consumer's WTP, once they were informed, could encourage industry to look favorably on this technology.
Hicks, D.T., Pivarnik, L.F., McDermott, R., Richard, N., Hoover, D.G. & Kniel, K.E. (2009). Consumer Awareness and Willingness to Pay for High-Pressure Processing of Ready-to-Eat Food. Journal of Food Science Education, 8(2), 32-38.