Chinese consumers’ preference for selected food safety attributes of milk powders

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Wang, Chu (Cindy)
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A series of milk safety scandals have occurred in China since the early 2000s that not only led to thousands of consumers falling ill, but also caused the deaths of infants. The milk scandals scared many consumers in mainland China away from domestic dairy products. Foreign branded dairy products, especially baby formulas, have become increasingly popular in China. Current little research has been dedicated to analyzing Chinese consumers’ preference for selected milk powder attributes such as “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)” and “Organic.” This study utilized an in-person interview of 1,404 respondents across 18 different locations in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Zhengzhou to study Chinese consumers’ preference for “Traceability”, “Direct Ownership of Farms”, “Country-of-origins”, “Farming Method (Organic vs. Conventional)” and “Safety Production Standards (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). A Mixed Logit Model was used to estimate consumers’ preference and willingness to pay for milk powder safety attributes. The research revealed that 64% Chinese consumers believe imported milk powders are safer than domestic milk powders. Consumers are willing to pay more milk powders with “Traceability” and “Direct ownership of farm” attributes. Consumers with better education and full-time employment are more likely to pay attention to the “Traceability” and “Direct ownership of farm” attributes of milk powder.