Consumer preferences for white maize in East and Southern Africa concerns developers of maize biofortified with provitamin A carotenoids, since carotenoids impart a yellow or orange coloration. Urban consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for yellow maize was estimated, using a semi-double-bounded logistic model, based on a survey of 600 maize consumers in Nairobi, Kenya, at posho mills, kiosks and supermarkets. Consumers showed a strong preference for white maize. Only a minority would buy yellow maize at the same price as white maize, and fewer consumers in the posho mills (24%) and kiosks (19%) than in the supermarkets (34%) would do so. On average, consumers need a price discount of 37% to accept yellow maize. This discount was less at the posho mills (35%) and kiosks (37%) than in the supermarkets (48%). Most respondents (76%) were aware of the existence of fortified meal and the generally showed an interest. The average premium for fortified maize was much less than the discount for yellow: 5.9% for those aware and 7.4% for those unaware. Consumer preferences were influenced by socioeconomic factors such as gender, education, income and ethnic background. Women have a stronger preference for both white maize and fortified maize than men, and consumers with more education have a stronger preference for white. Income decreases the WTP for yellow maize as well as the price elasticity, but increases the WTP for fortified maize. Consumers originating from Western Kenya have a lower preference for white, while those from Central Kenya had a stronger preference for fortified maize.
Food Policy (2008) 33 (4) 362-370 [doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2008.02.005]