Food retailers are accustomed not to offer the so-called "Misfits", that is fruits and vegetables whose appearance do not meet the best visual quality standards. This is due to the assumption that consumers only prefer fruits and vegetables with perfect appeal, which ultimately contribute towards the global, food waste bad tendencies. Therefore, it is important to understand consumers’ acceptance of the pricing possibilities for misfits. This aspect inspired the current study, which is aimed to investigate whether consumers could accept or reject misfit vegetables if there were any possibility of choosing such produce. A sample of 200 consumers was surveyed in Bologna, Italy, in June 2014 using a choice experiment approach and fresh carrots as the product of interest. Data were analysed using both Multinomial Logit (mnl) and Random Parameter Logit (rpl) models. The results suggest that appearance actually influenced consumer preferences for fresh carrots, on the basis of deformation as well as irregularity in terms of size, reducing the probability to purchase. However, consumers were showing more tolerance for irregular sized carrots compared to deformed ones. In addition, misfits were more accepted by consumers purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at fresh food market compared to supermarket customers.
Keywords: Food Waste, Misfits, Choice Experiment, Willingness-To-Pay, Italy
Jel Code: M13, Q13