Study Finds Consumers Willing to Pay Extra for Safer Foods

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 non-thermal-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 United States, 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 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.

To read the study, click here.

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