Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2756


Animal Products

Summary and Implications

Because some consumers have expressed reservations about the use of carbon monoxide for fresh meat packaging, we hypothesized that providing consumers with factual information about this packaging technology would alleviate consumer fears and biases concerning carbon monoxide, and improve consumer acceptance of carbon monoxide in meat packaging. Consumers were given opportunities to purchase ground beef with three choices of product color (bright red, light red or reddish brown), three hypothetical shelf life differences (3, 5 or 14 days) and three prices ($2.85, $3.05 or $3.25) both before and after information on packaging with carbon monoxide was provided. Following the initial purchasing experiment, the information on carbon monoxide describing the bright red color and extended shelf life achieved by this packaging technology was provided, and the purchasing experiment repeated to test the impact of communicating with consumers about carbon monoxide packaging. The results showed that consumers were willing to pay $0.16 per pound for each level of improved color of ground beef. There was no purchasing preference for 5-day shelf life over 3-day shelf life but consumers were willing to pay $0.36 per pound more for the 14-day shelf life. After information about carbon monoxide packaging as a means of providing improved color and shelf life was provided, willingness to pay declined to $0.05 per pound for color and $0.13 per pound for shelf life improvement. While the willingness to pay was less following information about carbon monoxide, it was still positive for those product attributes. These results suggest that strategies forimprovement of consumer attitudes concerning carbon monoxide packaging may need to do more than simply communicate the advantages of the technology. Extended efforts to educate consumers about the science of the technology may be necessary in order to significantly improve consumer attitudes about carbon monoxide packaging

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University