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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 91 No. 4, p. 1907-1919
    Received: Sept 04, 2012
    Accepted: Jan 22, 2013
    Published: December 2, 2014

    3 Corresponding author(s):


Phase I of The National Beef Quality Audit-2011: Quantifying willingness-to-pay, best-worst scaling, and current status of quality characteristics in different beef industry marketing sectors1

  1. J. L. Igo*22,
  2. D. L. VanOverbeke,
  3. D. R. Woerner*,
  4. J. D. Tatum*,
  5. D. L. Pendell*,
  6. L. L. Vedral,
  7. G. G. Mafi,
  8. M. C. Moore,
  9. R. O. McKeith,
  10. G. D. Gray,
  11. D. B. Griffin,
  12. D. S. Hale,
  13. J. W. Savell and
  14. K. E. Belk 3
  1. Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523
    Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078
    Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843


The National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA)-2011 benchmarked the current status of and assessed progress being made toward quality and consistency of U.S. cattle, carcasses, and beef products after the completion of the first NBQA in 1991. Unlike previous NBQA, objectives of the 2011 Phase I study were to determine how each beef market sector defined 7 quality categories, estimate willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the same quality categories by market sector, and establish a best-worst (B/W) scaling for the quality categories. Structured face-to-face interviews were conducted and responses were recorded using dynamic routing software over an 11-mo period (February to December 2011) with decision makers in each of the following beef market sectors: Feeders (n = 59), Packers (n = 26), Food Service, Distribution, and Further Processors (n = 48), Retailers (n = 30), and Government and Allied Industries (n = 47). All respondents participated in a structured interview consisting of WTP and B/W questions that were tied to 7 quality categories and then were asked to “define” each of the 7 categories in terms of what the category meant to them, resulting in completely unbiased results. The 7 quality categories were a) how and where the cattle were raised, b) lean, fat, and bone, c) weight and size, d) cattle genetics, e) visual characteristics, f) food safety, and g) eating satisfaction. Overall, “food safety” and “eating satisfaction” were the categories of greatest and second most importance, respectively, to all beef market sectors except for Feeders. Feeders ranked “how and where the cattle were raised” and “weight and size” as the most important and second most important, respectively. Overall, “how and where the cattle were raised” had the greatest odds of being considered a nonnegotiable requirement before the raw material for each sector would be considered for purchase and was statistically more important (P < 0.05) as a requirement for purchase than all other categories except “food safety.” When all market sectors were considered, “eating satisfaction” was shown to generate the greatest average WTP percentage premium (11.1%), but that WTP premium value only differed statistically (P < 0.05) from “weight and size” (8.8%). Most notably, when a sector said that “food safety” was a nonnegotiable requirement, no sector was willing to purchase the product at a discounted price if the “food safety” of the product could not be assured.

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