Impact of bovine somatotropin on consumer concern and purchase behavior of fluid milk in Texas



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Texas Tech University


The commercial application of bST, if successfully adopted, promises to benefit the Texas dairy industry. However, the successful adoption will depend on providing information not only about production costs, but also on consumer acceptability to dairy producers in Texas. The general objective of this research was to determine the potential for commercial application of bST in Texas dairy cows. A state-wide consumer survey was conducted to determine attitudes, perceptions, and behavioral intentions toward the use of bST. Further, price and income sensitivity was estimated for bST and conventionally produced milk.

A simultaneous qualitative choice model was developed with the aid of information processing theory to estimate consumer behavioral intention. Two separate groups of consumers were identified as those willing-to-purchase and those not willing-to-purchase bST produced milk. Demand relationships were estimated for each using OLS procedures. The elasticity of demand of those willing-to-purchase bST milk was estimated to be -0.9 and the price elasticity of demand of conventional milk purchases was estimated to be -0.5 lending support to the possibility of market segmentation and coexistence of both bST and conventionally produced milk. Further, this study found that older nonwhite, female consumers, with lower income and education levels were less likely to purchase bST produced milk. Human health and lack of information regarding the technology were the two most cited reasons for the higher level of concern.

The development of an educational program would be beneficial to decreasing consumer concern and increasing the willingness-to-purchase milk produced using bST The educational program should use extensive research findings on the effects of bST and provide consumers with technical information about bST. Direct communication should be encouraged between university scientists and the public to reduce consumer concern. The findings of this study also suggest that while the government should be more directly involved in educating consumers on food safety issues, private enterprises such as independent regulatory bodies should be responsible for implementation and monitoring of food safety regulations.



Dairy cattle, Bovine somatotropin, Milk trade