Microalgae-based Food: Consumer Perception and Willingness to Pay in Austria—a Discrete Choice Based Experiment

Oliver Meixner, Richard Nieschalk, Rainer Haas


Algae-based foods have been gaining increasing popularity in recent years and hold tremendous potential, provided that there is greater awareness and knowledge about microalgae-based foods within both the general population and the food industry. These products not only offer health benefits for the human body but are also cost-effective and environmentally sustainable to produce. Using a discrete choice experiment (DCE), we assessed consumer perception and willingness to pay (WTP) of Austrian consumers for innovative food items made from microalgae, using algae crackers as an illustrative example. To approximate the weighting of the product attributes of origin, price, flavor, production method and packaging, we employed Choice Based Conjoint Analysis (CBCA) through an online survey (n = 301 participants). Subsequently, we approximated WTP for each product attribute based on the outcomes of the CBCA. The study reveals that, on the whole, microalgae-based food products are favorably perceived by consumers. The findings generally align with prior research in the literature, albeit with some noteworthy distinctions. For instance, there is a higher WTP for organic microalgae-based food compared to similar studies where regional production was evaluated to be of higher importance. Consequently, innovative microalgae foods seem to have significant potential in consumer food markets. Food producers should consider the expectations and perceptions of consumers in order to be able to successfully introduce novel microalgae food products in this, currently, niche market.


Algae foods; consumer behavior; Choice Based Conjoint Analysis; novel food; willingness to pay; niche market

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/ijfsd.v14i4.H2

ISSN 1869-6945


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License