Consumer preferences and willingness to pay for beef attributes in Ghana
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As Ghana makes transition into a developed economy, a greater percentage of the population is demanding and eating high quality and safe food products. The demand surge for beef needs to be met by increasing supply and an efficient supply-chain. Using a survey and choice experimental data collected from 400 beef consumers in the Kumasi Metropolis and Sunyani Municipality of Ghana, this study examines consumers‟ preferences and willingness to pay for beef product attributes. The results show that, Ghanaian consumers‟ in general prefer and rate shopping environment, packaging, leanness, certification, tenderness, steak colour and freshness as the most important attributes considered in purchasing beef products respectively. The empirical results show that, young, low and middle income consumers are more concerned with origin, steak colour and certification of beef products. Female consumers place high importance on beef leanness, origin, certification and freshness as key attributes compared to males. It is suggested that beef and other livestock distributors should focus on Ghanaian consumers with particular attention to shopping environment, packaging, leanness, inspection and certification, tenderness, colour and freshness attributes of beef products. The results further suggest that beef and other livestock distributors should focus on Ghanaian female consumers and young consumers considering origin, certification leanness and freshness as a key attributes. Ghanaian consumers with less formal education placed higher importance on product certification, shopping environment and tenderness. Larger Ghanaian households placed less importance on product leanness, slaughter men, certification and packaging. Creating attractive packaging, making products easy to cook, provision of certification label, specification of method of production and creating a suitable shopping environment are marketing strategies to be considered by investors. The empirical results from random parameter logit indicate preference heterogeneity for beef product attributes, and higher willingness to pay exist for pasture-raised beef, certification label and low fat content (lean beef) respectively. Consumer characteristics including age, income, gender and education significantly influence preferences and willingness to pay for beef products. Further evidence suggests that, the beef investors such as importers and exporters could use selective demographic targeting to maintain or build its own market share among competing beef products.