Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Deepthi Kolady


consumer behavior, consumer intercept survey, local food, local vegetables, payment card, willingness to pay


An increasingly popular topic in the food labeling field over the last 15 years has been the increasing body of research for food that is locally produced. Consumers’ definition of, attitudes toward, and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for local food have been areas of interest for researchers. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that contributes to the current body of local foods’ research for vegetables by providing information on these areas of interest for the state of South Dakota. This study acquires data through a consumer-intercept survey conducted in grocery stores throughout South Dakota with a sample size of 200 to achieve the following objectives: first, to determine the current demand for locally-grown vegetables in South Dakota (SD); second, to determine how SD consumers define locally-grown vegetables; third, to determine SD consumers’ reasons for purchasing locally-grown vegetables; fourth, to determine if SD consumers WTP is different for locally-grown cool-season vegetables (lettuce) versus locally-grown warm-season vegetables (tomatoes); fifth, to determine if seasonality has an impact on SD consumers’ WTP; sixth, to determine if a provision of a local definition has an effect on SD consumers’ WTP; seventh, to quantify WTP for locally-grown vegetables in SD; and eighth, to determine the factors affecting WTP through an empirical analysis. This study utilizes a payment card approach to examine the effect of provision of a local food definition on consumers’ WTP and to examine the effect of seasonality on consumers’ WTP. Major findings included a definition that was primarily focused on within 100 miles of purchase and within South Dakota, a mean WTP premium of between 12.45% and 16.5% for locally-grown tomatoes and a mean WTP premium of between 15.98% and 17.70% for locally-grown lettuce with seasonality differences. Consumers found product attributes, such as freshness and taste, to be the most important attributes in the purchasing decision. Support for the local economy and environmental friendliness were also found to be important. As per empirical analysis age, income, and importance of traceability in the purchasing decision were highly significant in determining the WTP for locally-grown lettuce. Producers can benefit from these results in terms of understanding what consumers are willing to pay for these products. Retailers can use important product attributes and WTP values to set prices and promote products. Policymakers can use this information to reform labeling policies related to local foods and to adjust promotional campaigns for local food.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Local foods -- South Dakota.
Vegetables -- South Dakota.
Consumers -- South Dakota -- Attitudes.
Consumer behavior.
Consumption (Economics)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright