Date of Award

8-1-2016

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Animal Science

First Advisor

Smith, Sylvia

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Rebecca

Abstract

A cross-sectional design was utilized to analyze data from 762 U.S. beef consumers surveyed in May 2015. The objective of the survey was to obtain an understanding of how consumers in the Millennial, X, and Boom Generations value beef credence labels with regard to level of importance and willingness to pay (WTP). The survey was created using LimeSurvey, and pilot tested at the following three universities: Southern Illinois University, Iowa State University, and Tarleton State University prior to submitting it to the C & T Marketing group across the United States in May 2015. The survey also included the following components: generational differences in beef consumption, other animal protein source consumption and sources of information utilized regarding beef. Demographics collected were used to separate respondents into the following generational categories: Millennial (18-33 years old), X (34-54 years old), and Boom (55-72 years old), and consumers represented 42 states of the U.S. plus the District of Columbia. Twelve credence labels were statistically different (P < 0.05) in their levels of importance based on generation cohort. Specifically, some credence labels significantly important to the Boom generation compared to X or Millennial generation were: Raised in the USA (P < 0.001), Product of the USA (P < 0.001) and Raised without Antibiotics (P < 0.001). However, Millennials reported higher averages (P < 0.001) in their WTP for credence attributes that contained the word “organic” in some way. Even though these labels showed significance, results indicated that respondents would be willing to pay below the current market value ($10.39) for a 12 ounce Choice Beef Ribeye Steak. Furthermore, Millennials are consuming the most beef at home among the three generations with consumption at more than two to four times per week. Beef is consumed more often that poultry, pork and seafood in a restaurant. Overall, beef consumers are primarily using online resources to obtain beef information, however; consumers still value information gathered from peer interaction, beef farmers, and butchers. Beef consumers from different generations have varying opinions on what beef credence labels are important to them, and what price they are willing to pay for those labels. However, this study would suggest organic beef is important to beef consumers, but they are not willing to pay for that particular credence label.

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