The use of willingness to pay to assess public preferences towards the fortification of foodstuffs with folic acid

Dixon, S. and Shackley, P. (2003) The use of willingness to pay to assess public preferences towards the fortification of foodstuffs with folic acid. Health Expectations, 6 (2). pp. 140-148.

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Objectives To assess public attitudes towards the fortification of flour with folic acid, and quantify their intensity of preference towards the proposed policy. Design Structured interviews describing the proposed policy of fortification followed by questions about the respondent's preferences towards fortification. Setting and participants  A United Kingdom community sample of 76 people interviewed at home. Main variables studied Direction of preference towards fortification, willingness to pay (WTP) for the preferred course of action, and the reasons behind their preferences. Results  Responses showed that 51 (67%) were in favour of fortification, 15 (20%) were opposed, while the remaining 10 (13%) were either indifferent or were unsure. Those in favour of fortification tended to be younger and poorer than those opposed to it. Willingness to pay estimates show that those in favour of food fortification had more intense preferences, with mean and median WTP around twice as great. Reasons for being willing to pay were centred on the health benefits, with particular reference being made to the intervention saving lives and it being preventative. Those opposed tended to believe that there was insufficient evidence. Conclusions The combination of a policy vote, WTP and qualitative data, allow us to assess the direction, intensity and motivations behind people's preferences. Further work needs to be undertaken to gather more robust estimates of public preferences for fortification, and to better understand attitudes towards public health interventions more generally.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cost-benefit analysis;folic acid;fortified food;public opinion
Author Affiliation: University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research, Regent Court, Sheffield, UK.
Subjects: Postharvest Management > Food Technology
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Balakrishna Garadasu
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2013 13:33
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2013 13:33
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