— This study addresses whether health claims (claims of health-promoting effects) of food products positively influence product price and consumer choices. In developed countries in recent years, health claims regarding food products have become attractive cues for consumers and promotion tools for food makers. However, in several developed countries including Japan, such forms of labeling are subject to government regulations and the public sector requires a costly and time-consuming certification process during product development. To address this problem, we surveyed 265 Japanese university students in a choice-based conjoint (CBC) experiment to determine the key factors that influence their consumer behavior and calculate whether such labeling increases a product’s value. We found that health claims affirmatively affect the purchase of functional food and that consumers’ marginal willingness to pay (WTP) for health claims is high. In addition, consumers rate country of origin highly when choosing a product; moreover, their WTP for foods of Japanese origin is high. We also found that health-conscious consumers tend to prefer smaller portions for functional food products. By identifying product characteristics that influence the consumption of functional food, our findings identify factors that are key to their successful introduction and marketing in Japan.
— Conjoint analysis, consumer behavior, functional food, new product development, Japan, JEL codes: D12; M31; M37.
Mitsunori Hirogaki is with the Faculty of Economics, Kushiro Public University of Economics, Japan (tel: +85 37 5519; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Mitsunori Hirogaki, " Estimating Consumers‘ Willingness to Pay for Health Food Claims: A Conjoint Analysis," International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 541-546, 2013.