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Doctoral Dissertation Research In Drms: Consumers' Decisions About Tradeoffs Between Food Safety And Quality: An Experimental Auction Analysis Of Artisanal Cheese


<p>The research examines how individuals make choices involving tradeoffs between health risk and product quality. In cheesemaking, pasteurization of milk can eradicate pathogenic bacteria that can cause illness as well as beneficial bacteria, which contribute to ripening and flavor development in aged cheese. This research studies consumers' attitudes toward bacteria and associated risk and how consumers respond to different types of information about food safety and quality through a combination of methods including analyzing individual hedonic preference rating of product attributes, experimental auctions, and hedonic price analysis of retail data in the market for artisan cheese in the US. The unique product context provides an opportunity to study a more continuous tradeoff between the variables of health risk and production quality than prior contexts have allowed. This research generates information useful for food and agriculture policymakers. There are proposals to require cheesemakers to reduce bacteria in their products in order to reduce health risks, but these new requirements might also reduce the quality of the products in the minds of consumers. Producers of artisenal cheeses come from a wide diversity of backgrounds and are part of a fast growing sector of the agricultural economy focusing on local production, value addition and farmers markets.</p>

Kerr, John M
Michigan State University
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