Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Determinants of consumer willingness to pay for quality-graded Australian sheep meat

Kara Tighe A D , Oscar Cacho A , Stuart Mounter A , Renato Villano A , Alex Ball B , David Pethick C and Euan Fleming A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A UNE Business School, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

B Herefords Australia, Locked Bag 7, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia.

C Veterinary Biology Building, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: kjones27@une.edu.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15873
Submitted: 17 December 2015  Accepted: 3 March 2017   Published online: 5 May 2017

Abstract

The present study investigated the influence of a quality-grading system, demographic information and consumption preferences on consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for sheep meat. Eating quality was defined by four grades developed by the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) sheep meat-grading scheme. These grades were based on consumer palatability scores for cooked sheep-meat samples and described as 2-star (‘unsatisfactory’ quality), 3-star (‘good every day’ quality), 4-star (‘better than every day’ quality) and 5-star (‘premium’ quality). Currently, sheep-meat available in Australian retail outlets that meets MSA quality specifications is trademarked as ‘MSA graded’ and consists of lamb that falls into at least the 3-star quality band. There is no distinction made between 3-, 4- and 5-star-graded product. A challenge for marketers would be pricing the product by these three grades should finer-quality differentiation be adopted. The present study evaluated consumer WTP for the MSA quality grades and interactions with consumer demographic factors and consumption preferences. Results clearly showed that consumers were willing to pay less for the 2-star grade and more for 4- and 5-star grades, than for 3-star grade. Robust results for the impact of demographic and consumption preferences on WTP were limited to consumer age, occupation, income level and the interaction between MSA grade and consumer age.

Additional keywords: consumer behaviour, eating quality, lamb grading, MSA sheep meat.


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