Food Waste-Best if Used-By Dates Taste Test Experimental Auction

Last registered on October 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Food Waste-Best if Used-By Dates Taste Test Experimental Auction
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008362
Initial registration date
October 11, 2021
Last updated
October 15, 2021, 12:51 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Tennessee

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Tennessee

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-14
End date
2022-05-18
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
As much as 40% of U.S. food production is lost or wasted. An estimated $218 billion a year spent to grow, process, and transport food in the U.S. goes towards the production of food that is never eaten. An incentive compatible second price Vickrey Experimental Auction (EA) will be used to examine how "best if used-by" dates affect consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for salads. While best if used-by dates are only an indication of quality, it is likely consumers prefer salads with the furthest-away best if used-by dates. This could cause best if used-by dates to lead to food waste. Therefore, this study explores how consumer confusion around best if used-by dates may affect consumer WTP for salads with varying best if used-by dates. Further, this study combines taste testing with the EA to determine if participants can determine a difference in taste for salads with varying best if used-by dates. Results of this study are informative for Food and Drug Administration regulations of best if used-by dates and sheds light on possible causes of food waste.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
DeLong, Karen and Kim Jensen. 2021. "Food Waste-Best if Used-By Dates Taste Test Experimental Auction." AEA RCT Registry. October 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8362-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We will conduct an experimental auction with three bidding rounds. We will use the Vickery auction setup. In Round 1, participants will see three salads and rate their appearance. Then they will bid on them. In round 2, they will taste the salads, answer taste sensory questions, and then bid on the salads. Before round 3, they will be given information about the FDA's definition of best if used-by dates and then bid on the salads. Finally, they will complete demographic and attitudinal scales. This is an incentive compatible auction and there will be a binding round and salad that the highest winner will actually purchase for the second highest price.
Intervention Start Date
2021-10-26
Intervention End Date
2021-11-10

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to pay (WTP) for the salads will vary depending on their best if used-by dates and will also vary depending on auction round.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
There is consumer confusion around best if used-by dates and how FDA regulates them. Taste will have a large impact on WTP since it is possible the taste quality of the salads doesn't deteriorate as quickly as one might think by just viewing the associated best if used-by date. Each biding round will affect WTP estimates as more information is provided on the salads and best if used-by dates.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Experimental auction as described above.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by Qualtrics. Each participant will see the order of the salads in a randomized fashion.
Randomization Unit
Salads are randomized.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
3 salads
Sample size: planned number of observations
120 participants. 8 sessions, with 15 participants each, bidding on 3 salads each in 3 auction rounds.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3 salads, 120 people bid on them, 3 bidding rounds, so a total of 1,080 bids
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With only 60 participants we should gain statistical significant for our experimental design per a power test done with SAS. We are having 120 participants to be safe.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Tennessee
IRB Approval Date
2021-06-04
IRB Approval Number
UTK IRB-20-06141-XM
Analysis Plan

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