Agricultural and Food Economics (Aug 2021)

Rural sustainability and food choice: the effect of territorial characteristics on the consumers’ preferences for organic lentils

  • Chiara Paffarini,
  • Biancamaria Torquati,
  • Tiziano Tempesta,
  • Sonia Venanzi,
  • Daniel Vecchiato

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 1
pp. 1 – 23


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Abstract The importance of pulse cultivation and consumption is recognized by the scientific community in terms of human nutrition, food security, biodiversity and a valid substitute for animal protein. In some marginal areas, pulse cultivation represents also a protection against the abandonment of agricultural land, the preservation of traditional landscape and the maintenance of natural environments, besides contributing to the safeguard of traditional gastronomy and culture. This study explores how some characteristics connected with rural sustainability, like the preservation of the traditional rural landscape, production area in a Natura 2000 Site of Community Importance (SCI) and EU quality labels (PDO and PGI), might influence organic consumers’ choice of lentils. Data were collected in the Umbria region (Italy) in 2014 by interviewing 213 consumers’ members of Organic Solidarity Purchase Groups (O-SPGs). The Discrete Choice Experiment methodology was used, and three different models (Multinomial Logit Model (MNL), Mixed Logit Model (RPL) and Endogenous Attribute Attendance (EAA)) were applied to verify the reliability of the estimates. Attribute non-attendance (ANA) behaviour was taken into account. Results reveal that the presence of ANA had an impact on both the relative importance of the estimated attributes and the magnitude of the estimated mean WTP. Therefore, this study suggests that WTP mean estimates should be considered with caution for marketing purposes if ANA is not considered. Looking at pulses, the results help to understand the importance in monetary terms of the relationship between lentil choice and rural sustainability.