Date of this Version
Presented at Range Beef Cow Symposium XXII, November 29, 30, and December 1, 2011, Mitchell, Nebraska. Sponsored by Cooperative Extension Services and the Animal Science Departments of the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Today, consumers are more informed about the origin of their food due to the desire to have confidence in the safety of their food. This need for information has lead to an increase in demand for even higher levels of safety and quality (Unnevehr, 2003). Currently, traceability and source-verification are considered indicators of beef quality and safety by consumers. Mennecke et al. (2007) found that consumers place a high precedence on any information that can relate to the origin and production of their food. Research also indicates there could be preference for U.S. beef, especially beef from the Midwest (Mennecke et al., 2007).
With the advent of animal identification systems, opportunities are increasing to provide source-verified beef to restaurant patrons. Restaurants and producers could create a niche market by offering products that are either source-verified or traceable from farm to restaurant. In order for this to be a viable option there has to be a financial incentive. Dickenson and Bailey (2002) along with Loureiro and Umberger (2007) found a majority of consumers are willing to pay more for a red-meat product that has a confirmed traceability.
Patrons in high-end restaurants often have more disposable income and are willing to pay more for a premium product. Also, trends popular in high-end restaurants are frequently emulated in more casual restaurants. Dickenson and Bailey (2002) report discussed a need to verify their results by conducting a retail study. Placing source-verfied meat in high-end restaurants and testing if consumers will pay a premium for products with various forms of traceability is one way to verify their findings.
The objectives of this research were to determine factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in high-end restaurants. From there, it was possible to discover if consumers were interested in knowing the origin of their beef and the extent to which they were willing to pay a premium for this information.