Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



As a consequence of the growing concerns about human health and the environment, consumers are becoming more interested in grass-fed beef than conventional grain-fed beef. Therefore, the study of consumers’ preference towards grass-fed versus grain-fed beef steak is the focus of research. In this paper, 2,000 respondents who indicate they have eaten grass fed beef in the past years and 2,000 respondents that complete a nationally representative sample is the general population. Conjoint analysis is utilized to analyze the preference of consumers. Participants are presented ten hypothetical beef steaks to rate. All steaks are identical excluding their product type, source of production, grade and price. Respondents were asked to rate each product from 1 to 10. Results show that for both grass-fed beef eaters and the general population, the target market has a higher demand for local prime grass-fed beef with a USDA certification with a relatively lower price. Consumers who live in the west tend to purchase more grass-fed beef with USDA certification. The research also suggests among the four attributes, product type is the most essential attribute, followed by source as the second most important attribute for both groups. The highest utility rank for grass-fed eaters comes from the combination of grass-fed beef with USDA certification, local, prime, and $2.99 per pound; for general population, the highest utility rank is the combination of grass-fed product with USDA certification, local, choice, and $2.99 per pound. These results will help to reallocate input and resources as well as target and develop a market for grass-fed beef. Limitations to this research still exist because more interaction effect should be studied. Future research may focus on an increased number of variable samples in order to provide realistic assessments of the market allocation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Harrison, Robert