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Measuring Chinese food consumers’ preferences for sustainability attributes: The case of the Shanghai yogurt market

Tait, Peter R.
Saunders, Caroline M.
Dalziel, Paul C.
Rutherford, Paul
Driver, Tim
Guenther, Meike
Date
2020-09
Type
Journal Article
Fields of Research
Abstract
Sustainable development is becoming established as a central public policy tenant globally. This agenda explicitly promotes sustainable agriculture to embrace agricultural practices that maintain environmental quality, ensures safe food, and socially responsible production. Within the Chinese agri-foods context, challenges to achieving agricultural sustainability are evident on several fronts including increases in projected food demand, rising budget shares for dairy and meat, and meeting increased domestic production targets. Water scarcity, pollution, and ecosystem degradation have become crucial constraints to China's economic development and increasing production while limiting environmental degradation is a major challenge. Establishing sustainable agriculture in China will necessitate development of farming systems with lower environmental and social impacts with reduction in demand for pollution-intensive products potentially playing a role in incentivising system change. However, the role of consumer preferences for sustainability attributes in food choices is not sufficiently understood in China. This paper reports on the application of a discrete choice experiment survey designed to measure consumer preferences for sustainability attributes in the Shanghai yogurt market. Our results show that many consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainability attributes that can play a role in ameliorating the environmental and societal pressures associated with agricultural intensification and production. This suggests that potential opportunities may exist for dairy companies to support developing the role of sustainability attributes in consumer choices as an avenue for product diversification that contributes to profitability as well as sustainability goals.
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© 2020 Journal of Asia Entrepreneurship and Sustainability
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