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Factors influencing Italian consumers’ willingness to buy and pay for insect-fed poultry products

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-02, 10:23 authored by G. Tiboldo, N. Casolani, M.C. Reguzzi, F. Cominelli, S. Coderoni, L. Arata, E. Mazzoni

The use of insects as a protein source in feed production can significantly improve the sustainability of livestock production. Despite several environmental and animal welfare benefits, the economic sustainability of such an approach depends on the level of consumer acceptance and willingness to pay for insect-fed poultry diets. Using the results of an online survey of more than 850 Italian consumers, we first examine the main differences between two groups of consumers: those who are willing to buy insect-fed poultry meat and eggs and those who are not. The t-test is used to search for statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of their stated preferences for key food attributes that influence purchase decisions, as well as their views on food safety, quality and environmental issues. We then use ordered logit regression to estimate the determinants of consumers' willingness to pay a price premium for insect-fed poultry compared to conventional poultry products. Particular attention is paid to the possible role of trust in the ability of the food system to provide safe food in influencing consumers’ preferences. The results show that consumers who are willing to buy insect-fed food are more environmentally aware, have a stronger belief in the crucial role that changes in current food consumption patterns can play for the environment and social well-being, and, in particular, have a higher level of trust in the system that guarantees food safety. The willingness to pay a price premium for insect-fed poultry food compared to conventional poultry products is mainly influenced by respondents' beliefs about insect-fed poultry food, especially in terms of its expected quality characteristics and animal welfare. Findings from this analysis could provide insights into where to invest to ensure the economic sustainability of a more circular supply chain.

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