13th Congress Proceedings
Consumers’ Perception Of Milk Safety
Several times during the last decade consumers have been warned about different incidents concerning food safety, like, salmonella in eggs, cheese and poultry, and pesticides residues in tomatoes. The problem of food safety is still to be a largely latent concern for consumers. The main research goal of this paper is to investigate consumers’ risk attitudes and risk perceptions concerning milk safety and to estimate their willingness to pay for extra-safe milk. The data was collected in the Netherlands using a mail survey. 211 usable questionnaires (26%) were returned. Results show that, in general, consumers are not concerned about the safety of milk. However, the results of consumers’ perceptions of the “riskiness of milk contamination” for vulnerable groups of people show that babies are considered to be more sensitive to different sources of contamination than other groups. This study supports the results of previous food safety studies showed that consumers are willing to pay a price premium to the traditional purchase price to avoid some perceived risks. 58% of respondents are willing to pay an additional price for extra-safe milk. The conjoint experiment results indicate that the most important factors for consumers’ preference are risk of contamination and presence of a label. Based on a conjoint analysis four segments of respondents were distinguished: “Balanced Shoppers”; “Safety-Seekers”; “Safety-Indifferent”; and “Extreme-Safety Seekers”.