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Do consumers care about European food labels? An empirical evaluation using best-worst method

Tiziana de-Magistris (Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón, Unidad de Economía Agraria, Zaragoza, Spain) (Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), CITA-Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Azucena Gracia (Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón, Unidad de Economía Agraria, Zaragoza, Spain) (Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), CITA-Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Jesus Barreiro-Hurle (Economics of Agriculture Unit (D4), Joint Research Centre (JRC) Directorate D – Sustainable Resources, European Commission, Seville, Spain)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 4 December 2017

784

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate Spanish consumer preferences for several food-labelling schemes on semi-cured, pasteurised sheep milk cheese. In particular, the authors used three labels regulated by the European Union regulation (European organic logo, protected denomination of origin (PDO) and nutritional fat content), and the remaining four have been introduced to the European food market by private initiatives (local, carbon footprint, food miles and animal welfare).

Design/methodology/approach

A Best-Worst Discrete Choice approach was applied in Spain during Fall 2011 by administrating a survey to 549 consumers.

Findings

The results suggest that the most valued labels are the PDO, followed by the organic logo and the nutritional panel. The least valued are food-miles labelling and carbon foodprint labels, while local-origin labels and animal welfare are in the middle position.

Originality/value

This study is the first to value consumer preferences for cheese products bearing several public and private European food-labelling schemes since literature on consumer preferences for food labels has only dealt with a comparison of a few (two or at most three) food-labelling schemes. In addition, the added value of this paper is also the use of the BWC approach that has the advantage of providing the best way to discriminate the degree of importance given by respondents to each food labels by overcoming the problem of bias caused by differences in the use of rating scales.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study has been funded by the EU Marie Curie Project, FOODLABELS_PIOF-GA-2009-253323, The views expressed are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.

Citation

de-Magistris, T., Gracia, A. and Barreiro-Hurle, J. (2017), "Do consumers care about European food labels? An empirical evaluation using best-worst method", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 12, pp. 2698-2711. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-11-2016-0562

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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