The development and introduction of nutritionally enhanced margarines in the mid-1990s offered the opportunity to improve public health through the use of a cholesterol-lowering food product. Product approval in the USA followed that in Europe. The public approval and market acceptance of the nutritionally enhanced product illustrate the challenges faced by offering improved health attributes through food product innovation. Although the product Benecol received public endorsement and was relatively quickly accepted by Finnish consumers, public acceptance has been slower in the USA. Our study traces consumer response to the introduction of nutritionally enhanced margarine products in the US market. Household scanner data allow estimation of hedonic price functions and a probit model on the choice of the health-promoting product attribute. US consumers of the enhanced margarine products place a relatively high value on the cholesterol-lowering attribute, although a relatively small share of households purchase the products that include it.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sonya-huffman/30/