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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Consumer acceptance of aesthetically imperfect vegetables - The role of information framing and personal values: Evidence from the United States

Lagerkvist, C. J.; Edenbrandt, A. K.; Bolos, L. A.; Nayga Jr, R. M.


Based on a survey of 3,504 consumers in the United States, this study investigates acceptance for food with varying types of aesthetic imperfections. A product-based discrete choice experiments (DCE) were utilized to provide preference estimates based on trade-offs between attributes of aesthetic imperfections and other relevant product attributes including price and type of production and origin. Respondents were randomly allocated to information treatments (control, gain-framed, loss-framed) tailored to nutritional and environmental impacts of food waste. Results showed that consumers accept aesthetic food imperfections related to color while not accepting those related to shape and physical aspects. The price discount was the second most important attribute for consumers' acceptance. Hence, marketing initiatives to promote 'ugly' food needs to be set with a rather substantial price discount in relation to physical imperfections but not so much in relation to shape or color imperfections. Furthermore, both gain-framed and loss-framed information increased acceptance and this effect was influenced by consumers' personal meta-value orientation. Individuals with an affinity for the meta -value orientations self-transcendence and openness to change were most accepting of aesthetically imperfect food, and individuals with an affinity for openness to change were particularly affected by gain-framed infor-mation. Tailoring the information to personal value-dimensions support the role of information to bridge the knowledge-deficit gap in terms of food waste reductions. We suggest to broaden this approach using a set of message contents to achieve increased message congruence through provision of information tailored by type of dominant personal meta-value.


Food waste; Environment; Schwartz meta-values; Gain loss choice

Published in

Food Quality and Preference
2023, Volume: 104, article number: 104737