Ethical Considerations and Food Demand

Maria L. Loureiro

in The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Food Consumption and Policy

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199569441
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

 Ethical Considerations and Food Demand

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  • Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics
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Food is becoming more and more an item on the political agenda around the world. Ethical guidelines may require minimal harm to animals, proper labor conditions, or good environmental conditions, among others. This article documents the importance of ethical attributes in current consumption patterns and shows multiple studies on the various aspects of ethical consumption. The objectives of this article are twofold: first, to provide some background information to contextualize the multiple ethical claims according to different underlying economic and physiological theories; and second, to assess the marginal value of each of the main ethical food claims present nowadays in the marketplace. Results with respect to the relative preferences toward the various ethical claims are described and discussed. With respect to consumers' preferences toward ethical claims, (GM)-free claims are the most valued ones in the marketplace worldwide. Implications of this result are discussed.

Keywords: ethical guidelines; physiological theories; ethical food; genetically modified; consumption

Article.  5554 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics ; Industry Studies

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