Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Leigh James Maynard

Abstract

Household-level Canadian meat purchases from 2002-2008, a Food Opinions Survey conducted in 2008 at the national level and household-level egg purchases from 2002-2005 in Alberta and Ontario were used to explore consumer responses to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada.

The opinions survey focused on nutritional priorities, general and specific food safety concerns, and trust in government and food industry decision makers. The egg data set contained specific product information allowing us to distinguish purchases of conventional eggs from those of value-added eggs with perceived health attributes. Thus, the egg purchase data appeared to be an interesting proxy of revealed willingness-to-pay for health attributes and animal welfare attributes in products other than meat, and it served as a proxy of awareness and concern for farm-level production practices. Three measures of beef purchases were used to understand consumers‘ reaction to food risk. A random effects logit model was applied to test whether any beef was purchased during a given month. Consumption in terms of unit purchases was measured with a random effects negative binomial model, and consumption in terms of beef expenditure was measured with a standard random effects model. Regional differences appeared, with consumers in eastern Canada reacting most negatively to BSE. Consumers responded more to the perception that food decision makers are honest about food safety than to the perception that they are knowledgeable, in maintaining beef purchases during BSE events. Consumers who purchased value-added eggs reacted significantly more negatively to the second and third BSE events, as did those who reported increasing food safety concerns in the opinions survey. Their negative responses to BSE were stronger than those of consumers who purchased conventional products which indicated a relationship exists between concern for health and nutrition attributes and food safety. This study extends previous research by enlarging the time periods and more data sources which can be helpful to identify individual heterogeneity and the application of panel random effects models which also targets on controlling the unobserved and constant aspects of households.

Included in

Agriculture Commons

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