How Local is Locally Produced Food? A Choice Analysis on Red Tomatoes and Gala Apples

Tsang, Kelvin
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University of Guelph

This study investigates Canadian consumers' preferences for organic and locally produced fresh produce. The analysis is based on two choice experiments, one for red tomatoes and one for gala apples, and implemented through an internet based survey. The choice experiments address two important research questions. First, what attributes do Canadians associate with when purchasing locally produced organic foods. Second, to what degree do the identified attributes influence consumers' purchasing decision? Results from the food scale reveals that price, taste, and freshness were the top three important factors when purchasing organic and local food. From the exploratory factor analysis, underlying latent constructs regarding purchasing motives for organic and local food share similar factors. Results from conditional logit regression model suggests that there is a disutility associated with food mileage, where respondents were willing to pay a premium of $0.0061 per ten kilometres per kilograms and $0.0044 per ten kilometres per kilograms of tomatoes and apples respectively. Respondents were also willing to pay a premium for the authentication of "organic-ness'', and in the case of gala apples, respondents were indicating a disutility for non-certified organic apples.

Local food, Organic food, Choice analysis, Food mileage, Exploratory factor analysis