Consumer preferences and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for beef sirloin steaks with differing production, physical, and credence attributes related to the use of postextraction algal residue (PEAR), a novel feed ingredient, were estimated. Ninety-six consumers participated in a sensory tasting panel before completing a choice set survey; 127 consumers completed only the choice set survey without sampling products. Steaks from grain- and PEAR-fed steers had similar Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) scores (1.89 kg and 2.01 kg, respectively; = 0.77) and had lower WBSF scores than steaks from grass-fed steers (3.37 kg; < 0.05). Eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5) was not different among steaks from grain- and PEAR-fed steers ( = 0.39) but was greater compared with steaks from grass-fed cattle ( ≤ 0.03). Panelists in the sensory portion of the study evaluated beef samples for like/dislike of overall sample, overall flavor, beefy flavor, and juiciness. Panelist rating of overall like, overall flavor like, and beefy flavor like were not different between the PEAR- and grain-fed treatments ( > 0.26). Panelists rated the juiciness like/dislike of steaks from PEAR-fed cattle the highest ( < 0.01) among the 3 samples. Sensory tasting of the products was observed to alter the preferences of consumers. Consumers who completed only the survey negatively perceived beef from PEAR-fed cattle compared with beef from grain-fed cattle, with a WTP discount of -US$1.17/kg. However, with sensory tasting, the WTP for beef from PEAR-fed cattle was not discounted relative to beef from grain-fed cattle ( = 0.21). The nontasting consumers had much higher stated WTP values for credence attributes. Factors that influence the eating experience (tenderness and quality grade) dominated as the most important attributes on WTP among the tasting group. The use of no hormones and no antibiotics in production had a premium of $2.34/kg among the nontasting group, but with tasting, the premium was $1.19/kg. If PEAR-fed beef came to market, there would be no need to differentiate it from grain-fed beef unless retailers wanted to market it as a differentiated product. If it were marketed as a differentiated product, retailers would need to hold promotional tastings to change consumer's preconceived notions about the product.
- Beef CattleConsumer Willingness-to-payDiscrete Choice ExperimentPostextraction Algal ResidueSirloin Steak