The Value of Data Regarding Traceable Attributes in a New Era of Agriculture : Bridging the Information Gap Between Consumers and Producers of Organic Meat

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för informatik (IK)

Abstract: Purpose – This study aims to explore, and suggest solutions to, the gap between the supply of information from organic meat producers and the demand of information from consumers regarding traceable characteristics (attributes) of meat in a limited geographical area in order to maximize the utilization and value of collected data. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods research design is applied to collect both quantitative data from consumers and qualitative data from suppliers to produce empirical results of the supply and demand of information. A theoretical framework of organic food purchase intent is used for the quantitative study as well as the correlation between consumers’ perceived importance of attributes and their willingness-to-pay for meat. The results of the empirical studies are compared to each other in an effort to expose a possible gap using a gap analysis. Findings – Meat is shifting from a price based commodity to a product based on characteristics. This study reveals that there is now a gap between the information made available by organic meat producers and the demand of information from consumers that needs to be recognized in order to maximize the value of collected data. Information regarding environmental impact of raising and transporting the animals is not extensively collected. A substantial amount of data about attributes of perceived importance, such as safety and handling, animal welfare and medication or other treatments is collected but not extensively shared with consumers. Research limitations/implications – The small sample size in a unique area and the scope of the survey data does not provide a result that can be truly generalized. It is therefore suggested that future studies produce results from a larger sample that incorporates the perceived accessibility of important information for consumers. Practical implications – This contributes to the emerging literature of organic food production by comparing both the supply and the demand of information regarding attributes of meat. This information is valuable to organic meat producers and marketers as well as developers of agricultural systems and databases that should shift their focus to consumer oriented traceability systems. Originality/value – This study goes beyond the substantial body of literature regarding attributes of organic food and consumers preferences by comparing these factors to the available supply of information by meat producers and by suggesting solutions to bridge the gap between them. Keywords – Organic meat, Organic agriculture, e-Agriculture, Traceability, Traceability systems, Consumer oriented, Consumer behavior, Willingness-to-pay, Supply and demand, Information gap, Gap analysis, Business development, United States of America, Sense-making theory, Mixed methods Paper type – Research paper, Bachelor’s thesis

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