Three Essays on Factors Influencing the Demand of Local and International Food Products
Type of Degreedissertation
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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This dissertation is comprised of three separate essays evaluating the demand for different food products both locally and internationally. The first essay analyzed restaurants/chefs preferences for local producer and product attributes in Alabama. The increasing number of health conscious consumers is leading a growing local food marketing trend in the United States. Consumers perceive local food to be fresher, of higher quality, good value for their money, and as a result consumers are willing to pay a premium. This demand for local food has expanded to the restaurant market and chefs are searching for local products to appeal to consumers and also for product quality and freshness. The study utilized a choice-based conjoint analysis to determine local attributes that are important to these chefs. The study found restaurants are seeking fresh/whole products that are naturally produced, for the lowest possible prices. Findings suggest there is tremendous potential for local marketing to independently owned restaurants. The second essay utilized the differential production model to determine the impact of the tariff-only regime on EU banana imports from Latin American and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Latin America and ACP are the primary suppliers of bananas to the EU, increasing competition between these regions. At the 1975 Lomé Convention ACP countries were granted preferential treatment to export bananas to the EU, creating a long- standing dispute between the EU and Latin America. In an attempt to settle the dispute the EU implemented the tariff-only regime which is expected to significantly reduce the price of Latin bananas. This tariff-only regime is speculated to negatively affect ACP countries that are dependent on banana exports. The study found that import quantities are projected to increase from all ACP countries. However, their percentage increases are projected to be significantly lower than that of Latin American countries. Total import index elasticities found in the study indicated that an increase in total EU banana import would increase import quantities from ACP countries more than Latin countries. The third essay examined the impact of factors that influenced consumers’ view on a MarketMaker business profile. MarketMaker is a web-based direct marketing medium created with the primary purpose of providing agricultural related businesses greater access to both local and regional markets. In order to determine if businesses are benefitting from this marketing tool, the study used Negative Binomial models to determine the impact of several profile attributes on consumer traffic to a MarketMaker business profile. Results showed consumers are more likely to view profiles with the attributes social media networks, business websites and state marketing programs. One of the most influential factors was the MarketMaker business spotlight feature.