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Traceability in the Canadian Red Meat Sector: Do Consumers Care?

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  • Economics


Increased traceability of food and food ingredients through the agri-food chain has featured in recent industry initiatives in the Canadian livestock sector and is an important facet of the new Canadian Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). While traceability is usually implicitly associated with ensuring food safety and delivering quality assurances, there has been very little economic analysis of the functions of traceability systems and the value that consumers place on traceability assurances. This paper examines the economic incentives for implementing traceability systems in the meat and livestock sector. Experimental auctions are used to assess the willingness to pay of Canadian consumers for a traceability assurance, a food safety assurance, and an on-farm production method assurance for beef and pork products. Results from these laboratory market experiments provide insights into the relative value for Canadian consumers of traceability and quality assurances. Traceability, in the absence of quality verification, is of limited value to individual consumers. Bundling traceability with quality assurances has the potential to deliver more value.

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