Consumers Willing to Pay Extra for Safe Foods Processed with New Technology Study Published in Journal of Food Science Education

April 15, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Consumers Willing to Pay Extra for Safe Foods Processed with New Technology
Study Published in Journal of Food Science Education


CHICAGO — Consumers are willing to pay extra for food processed using new technology once they understand how it works and what it does, according to a study presented in the Journal of Food Science Education, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

To meet consumer demand for food that is minimally processed, additive free and has an extended shelf life, there has been increased interest in the commercial development of nonthermal-processing technologies. High hydrostatic-pressure processing (HPP) involves the application of hydrostatic compression and varying process temperatures that make microorganisms inactive. Product development and distribution of HPP foods continues in the U.S., with the introduction of new products such as salsa and whole pressure-shucked oysters. HPP has been successfully applied to ready-to-eat meats, and some processed fruits and vegetables, jams, yogurt and rice products.

In the survey, done by an online survey clearinghouse and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), several hundred consumers were given an explanation of HPP and its benefits. Forty percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay an additional cost for high-pressure processing of ready-to-eat food, with only 15 percent saying they would be unwilling to pay. The remaining 45 percent were unsure about whether they would be willing to pay extra for safer measures.

“New technologies often encourage a stumbling block in consumer acceptance and processing costs,” say the researchers, who are affiliated with the University of Delaware and University of Rhode Island. “A consumer’s willingness to pay, once they were informed, could encourage industry to look favourably on this technology.”

Read more about the study: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122278976/PDFSTART


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About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is a nonprofit scientific society with more than 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT serves as a conduit for multidisciplinary science thought leadership, championing the use of sound science through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy. For more information on IFT, visit www.ift.org.