In response to consumers’ increasing concerns about food safety, both supply chain operators and public authorities have developed, in the last decade, labelling schemes to provide markets with more information. Although some level of traceability is necessary to provide consumers with valuable information (such as country-of-origin, production process, ecc.), it is not clear so far if traceability per se is important to consumers. The objective of this paper is to analyse consumers’ perception of food traceability with respect to two food products: chicken and honey. More specifically, it aims to provide more insights for both policy makers and supply chain actors into Italian consumer’s perception and preferences for different attributes connected to traceability. After a preliminary qualitative phase, a choice experiment (ce) was employed on a sample of Italian consumers to analyse preferences for different profiles of chicken and honey. ce methodology allows to weight the relative importance of any given attribute for consumers, providing an estimation of their marginal willingness to pay (wtp). A multinomial logit (ml) and a latent class (lc) model were applied to estimate the parameters associated to each product’s attribute. The lc model, in particular, fitted better the data providing more detailed results able to capture heterogeneity of preferences across the considered products. One of the findings in this study is that traceability perception is a product specific issue: consumers have more preferences for traceability attributes in the case of chicken than for honey. This is probably due to a different level of perceived risk and to the higher market penetration of chicken. Therefore, on the one hand, we suggest supply chain operators to develop traceability-based valorisation strategies per product. On the other hand, the introduction of vertical public regulations on food traceability, i.e. defined per product category, should be preferred by public authority.
Keywords: Traceability, choice experiment, latent class model, chicken, honey
Jel Code: C25, D12, Q18