When purchasing food, consumers make their choices by comparing prices and qualities. As a wide and subjective notion, food quality deals with different kinds of attributes. They could be either verified by consumers or not before or after purchasing food e.g., colour, taste/flavor, nutritional facts, added substances during the productive processes, risks perceptions, and retail channel preferences. The aim of this research is to examine consumers’ preferences for fresh potatoes quality attributes and also to identify those factors associated to purchases of potato of better quality. Data come from a household survey conducted in Mar del Plata city, Argentina, in June 2009. A representative sample of the population included 500 randomly selected households. Related to potato nutrients, 50% of the sample mentioned at least one nutrient (carbohydrates 83%, vitamins 24%, potassium 16%, and fibre 12%). Households with many members have a higher probability to consume fresh potato more frequently than smaller households, and older respondents consume fresh potato more frequently than younger individuals. Households considering potato as a relevant component of a balanced diet are likely to consume fresh potatoes more frequently than households that did not emphasized the role of this product in their meals. Consumer perception about the relationship between price and quality showed that the higher educational level, the lower the number of respondents who declared that the price is a trustful sign of quality. Finally, when asked about willingness-to-pay for fresh potatoes of better quality, 34% of households were willing to pay a premium of 0.13 US$/kg and 19% were willing to pay a price premium of 0.26 US$/kg.
Keywords: Fresh potatoes, quality attributes, perceptions, willingness-to-buy
Jel Code: D1, D12, Q13