Microplastics in seafood: Consumer preferences and valuation for mitigation technologies

Peer Reviewed
4 October 2023

Manuel Barrientos, Felipe Vásquez Lavín, Roberto D. Ponce Oliva, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Stefan Gelcich

Microplastics, an emerging pollutant, have garnered widespread attention due to potential repercussions on human health and the environment. Given the critical role of seafood in food security, growing concerns about microplastics might be detrimental to meeting future global food demand. This study employs a discrete choice experiment to investigate Chilean consumers' preferences for technology aimed at mitigating microplastic levels in mussels. Using a between-subjects design with information treatments, we examined the impact of informing consumers about potential human health and environmental effects linked to microplastics pollution on their valuation for the technology. We found that the information treatments increased consumers’ willingness to pay for them. Specifically, consumers’ willingness to pay for mussels with a 90% depuration efficiency certification is around US$ 4. The provision of health impact information increased the price premium by 56%, while the provision of environmental information increased it by 21%. Furthermore, combined health and environmental information significantly increased the probability of non-purchasing behavior by 22.8% and the risk perception of microplastics for human health by 5.8%. These results emphasize the critical role of information in shaping consumer preferences and provide evidence for validating investment in research and development related to microplastic pollution mitigation measures.

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Publication reference
Barrientos, M., Lavín, F. V., Oliva, R. D. P., Nayga, R. M., & Gelcich, S. (2023). Microplastics in seafood: Consumer preferences and valuation for mitigation technologies. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3411458/v1
Publication | 7 December 2023