Consumers are still willing to buy organic meat despite its higher price. A recent article out of Fayetteville, Arkansas reported that consumers are willing to pay a premium for organic meat, but that the type of organic label controls their willingness to pay. The article was based on a study done out of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Center for Food Safety. The author of the study’s published results, Ellen Van Loo, says that “willingness-to-pay estimates can also provide insights on how consumers value the organic attribute in meat products and can be used as input in analyzing the marketability of the products.”

In the study, consumers were hypothetically surveyed (Van Loo would like to research further with real market data later) as to their willing to pay premiums for chicken breasts. “The surveys found that consumers would be willing to spend a 35 percent premium for a general organic labeled chicken breast and would pay a 104 percent premium for a USDA-certified organic labeled chicken breast.”

The study broke down the consumers based on the frequency in which they purchased organic products. Consumers who traditionally did not shop organic were unwilling to pay the premium. Consumers who occasionally bought organic “would pay a 35.7 percent premium for a general organic labeled chicken breast and a 97.3 percent premium for USDA-certified chicken breast.” The most frequent buyers though “would pay a 146 percent premium for a general organic labeled chicken breast and 244.3 percent premium for USDA-certified chicken breast.”

For a similar article from the USDA on produce, click here. For more information on the National Organic Program and more resources from the National Agricultural Law Center, click here.