Spatial discounting in food products from high natural value agroecosystems

Keywords: Consumers’ preferences, Ecosystem services, Choice experiments, Dehesa, Agroforestry system, Commodification, Iberian dry-cured ham


Aim of study: To test the hypothesis that consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for traditional food products expresses their willingness to conserve the bundle of ecosystem services (ES) provided by the territories of origin and that the intensity of these preferences is subject to spatial discounting.

Area of study: We used Iberian dry-cured ham as a case study. This is a traditional and highly appreciated product characteristically produced in the Dehesa agroforestry system (southern Iberian Peninsula), an agricultural system characterized by high levels of ES provision.

Material and methods: The analysis relies on a discrete choice experiment using some recently developed spatial indexes that go beyond traditional “distance-decay” effects. This method was fed with primary data gathered from a face-to-face survey administered in Andalusian food retail establishments to 1,158 Iberian ham (acorn- or fodder-fed) consumers.

Main results: The results provide evidence of the effects of spatial discounting on the purchase of acorn- and fodder-fed Iberian hams associated with the agroecosystem in which they are produced. These effects presumably stem from consumers’ cultural identity linked to the agroecosystem of origin and their willingness to support the local economy and communities. In addition, in the case of acorn-fed Iberian ham, spatial discounting is affected by consumers’ perception of the ES provided by the agroecosystem, with consumers who significantly perceive these services showing a higher WTP, regardless of their place of residence (no spatial discounting).

Research highlights: Relevant insights can be gained from the results, especially concerning marketing strategies and the adoption of environmental and sociocultural certifications.


Download data is not yet available.


Aboah J, Lees N, 2020. Consumers use of quality cues for meat purchase: Research trends and future pathways. Meat Sci 166: 108142.

Ay JS, Chakir R, Marette S, 2017. Distance decay in the willingness to pay for wine: disentangling local and organic attributes. Environ Resour Econ 68: 997-1019.

Bateman IJ, Day BH, Georgiou S, Lake I, 2006. The aggregation of environmental benefit values: welfare measures, distance decay and total WTP. Ecol Econ 60: 450-460.

Bernabéu R, Rabadán A, El Orche NE, Díaz M, 2018. Influence of quality labels on the formation of preferences of lamb meat consumers. A Spanish case study. Meat Sci 135: 129-133.

BOE, 2014. Real Decreto 4/2014, de 10 de enero, por el que se aprueba la norma de calidad para la carne, el jamón, la paleta y la caña de lomo ibérico. Boletín Oficial del Estado, Madrid.

Borrello M, Cecchini L, Vecchio R, Caracciolo F, Cembalo L, Torquati B, 2022. Agricultural landscape certification as a market-driven tool to reward the provisioning of cultural ecosystem services. Ecol Econ 193: 107286.

Bowen S, Mutersbaugh T, 2013. Local or localized? Exploring the contributions of Franco-Mediterranean agrifood theory to alternative food research. Agric Human Values 31: 201-213.

Brinkley C, 2017. Visualizing the social and geographical embeddedness of local food systems. J Rural Stud 54: 314-325.

Campos P, Oviedo JL, Álvarez A, Mesa B, Caparrós A, 2019. The role of non-commercial intermediate services in the valuations of ecosystem services: Application to cork oak farms in Andalusia, Spain. Ecosyst Serv 39: 100996.

Czajkowski M, Budziński W, Campbell D, Giergiczny M, Hanley N, 2017. Spatial heterogeneity of willingness to pay for forest management. Environ Resour Econ 68: 705-727.

de-Magistris T, Gracia A, 2016. Consumers' willingness-to-pay for sustainable food products: The case of organically and locally grown almonds in Spain. J Clean Prod 118: 97-104.

De Valck J, Broekx S, Liekens I, Aertsens J, Vranken L, 2017. Testing the influence of substitute sites in nature valuation by using spatial discounting factors. Environ Resour Econ 66: 17-43.

Díaz-Caro C, García-Torres S, Elghannam A, Tejerina D, Mesias FJ, Ortiz A, 2019. Is production system a relevant attribute in consumers' food preferences? The case of Iberian dry-cured ham in Spain. Meat Sci 158: 107908.

Espejel J, Fandos C, Flavián C, 2007. The role of intrinsic and extrinsic quality attributes on consumer behaviour for traditional food products. Manag Serv Qual 17: 681-701.

Farris J, Malone T, Robison LJ, Rothwell NL, 2019. Is "localness" about distance or relationships? Evidence from hard cider. J Wine Econ 14: 252-273.

Feldmann C, Hamm U, 2015. Consumers' perceptions and preferences for local food: A review. Food Qual Prefer 40: 152-164.

García-Gudiño J, Blanco-Penedo I, Gispert M, Brun A, Perea J, Font-i-Furnols M, 2021. Understanding consumers' perceptions towards Iberian pig production and animal welfare. Meat Sci 172: 108317.

Garrido P, Elbakidze M, Angelstam P, Plieninger T, Pulido F, Moreno G, 2017. Stakeholder perspectives of wood-pasture ecosystem services: A case study from Iberian dehesas. Land Use Policy 60: 324-333.

Glenk K, Johnston RJ, Meyerhoff J, Sagebiel J, 2020. Spatial dimensions of stated preference valuation in environmental and resource economics: methods, trends and challenges. Environ Resour Econ 75: 215-242.

Gracia A, de-Magistris T, 2013. Preferences for lamb meat: A choice experiment for Spanish consumers. Meat Sci 95: 396-402.

Gracia A, de Magistris T, Nayga Jr. RM, 2012. Importance of social influence in consumers' willingness to pay for local food: Are there gender differences? Agribusiness 28: 361-371.

Gracia A, Barreiro-Hurlé J, López-Galán B, 2014. Are local and organic claims complements or substitutes? A consumer preferences study for eggs. J Agric Econ 65: 49-67.

Granado-Díaz R, Gómez-Limón JA, Rodríguez-Entrena M, Villanueva AJ, 2020. Spatial analysis of demand for sparsely located ecosystem services using alternative index approaches. Eur Rev Agric Econ 47: 752-784.

Granado-Díaz R, Villanueva AJ, Rodríguez-Entrena M, Salazar-Ordoñez M, Estévez M, Sanz A, Manrique T, 2021. ¿Existe un patrón de preferencias del consumidor diferente según el tipo de jamón ibérico? Inf Tec Econ Agrar 117: 557-579.

Hanley N, Schläpfer F, Spurgeon J, 2003. Aggregating the benefits of environmental improvements: distance-decay functions for use and non-use values. J Environ Manage 68: 297-304.

Hensher D, Hanley A, Rose JM, Greene WH, 2015. Applied Choice Analysis, 2nd ed. Cambridge Univ Press, UK.

Herrmann R, Teuber R, 2011. Geographically differentiated products. In: The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Food Consumption and Policy; Lusk JL, Roosen J, Shogren JF (eds.). pp: 1-37. Oxford Univ Press, UK.

Hersleth M, Næs T, Rødbotten M, Lind V, Monteleone E, 2012. Lamb meat - Importance of origin and grazing system for Italian and Norwegian consumers. Meat Sci 90: 899-907.

Holland BM, Johnston RJ, 2017. Optimized quantity-within-distance models of spatial welfare heterogeneity. J Environ Econ Manage 85: 110-129.

Iaccarino T, Di Monaco R, Mincione A, Cavella S, Masi P, 2006. Influence of information on origin and technology on the consumer response: The case of soppressata salami. Food Qual Prefer 17: 76-84.

Kallas Z, Varela E, Čandek-Potokar M, Pugliese C, Cerjak M, Tomažin U et al., 2019. Can innovations in traditional pork products help thriving EU untapped pig breeds? A non-hypothetical discrete choice experiment with hedonic evaluation. Meat Sci 154: 75-85.

Krinsky I, Robb AL, 1986. On approximating the statistical properties of elasticities. Rev Econ Statist 68: 715-719.

Lancaster KJ, 1966. A new approach to consumer theory. J Polit Econ 74: 132-157.

Lim KH, Hu W, 2016. How local is local? A reflection on Canadian local food labeling policy from consumer preference. Can J Agric Econ 64: 71-88.

López-Mosquera N, Sánchez M, 2011. The influence of personal values in the economic-use valuation of peri-urban green spaces: An application of the means-end chain theory. Tour Manag 32: 875-889.

Lusk JL, Tonsor GT, 2016. How meat demand elasticities vary with price, income, and product category. Appl Econ Perspect Policy 38: 673-711.

Madureira L, Santos JL, Ferreira A, Guimarães H, 2013. Feasibility Study on the Valuation of Public Goods and Externalities in EU Agriculture. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

McFadden DL, 1974. Conditional logit analysis of qualitative choice behaviour. In: Frontiers in Econometrics; Zarembka P (ed.). pp: 105-142. Acad Press, NY.

Menapace L, Raffaelli R, 2016. Preferences for locally grown products: evidence from a natural field experiment. Eur Rev Agric Econ 44: 255-284.

Mesías FJ, Gaspar P, Pulido ÁF, Escribano M, Pulido F, 2009. Consumers' preferences for Iberian dry-cured ham and the influence of mast feeding: An application of conjoint analysis in Spain. Meat Sci 83: 684-690.

Mesías FJ, Pulido F, Escribano M, Gaspar P, Pulido ÁF, Escribano A, Rodríguez-Ledesma A, 2013. Evaluation of new packaging formats for dry-cured meat products using conjoint analysis: an application to dry-cured Iberian ham. J Sens Stud 28: 238-247.

Moreno G, Pulido FJ, 2009. The functioning, management and persistence of Dehesas. In: Agroforestry in Europe: Current Status and Future Prospects; Rigueiro-Rodróguez A, McAdam J, Mosquera-Losada MR (eds.). pp: 127-160. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Ovando P, Campos P, Oviedo JL, Caparrós A, 2016. Ecosystem accounting for measuring total income in private and public agroforestry farms. Forest Policy Econ 71: 43-51.

Pirard R, Lapeyre R, 2014. Classifying market-based instruments for ecosystem services: A guide to the literature jungle. Ecosyst Serv 9: 106-114.

Poe GL, Giraud KL, Loomis JB, 2005. Computational methods for measuring the difference of empirical distributions. Am J Agric Econ 87: 353-365.

Rose J, Bain S, Bliemer MC, 2011. Experimental design strategies for stated preference studies dealing with non-market goods. In: The International Handbook on Non-Market Environmental Valuation; Bennet J (ed.). pp: 273-299. Edward Elgar Publ, Cheltenham, UK.

Sahelices A, Mesías FJ, Escribano M, Gaspar P, Elghannam A, 2017. Are quality regulations displacing PDOs? A choice experiment study on Iberian meat products in Spain. Ital J Anim Sci 16: 9-13.

Salazar-Ordóñez M, Schuberth F, Cabrera ER, Arriaza M, Rodríguez-Entrena M, 2018. The effects of person-related and environmental factors on consumers' decision-making in agri-food markets: the case of olive oils. Food Res Int 112: 412-424.

Salazar-Ordóñez M, Rodríguez-Entrena M, Villanueva AJ, 2021. Exploring the commodification of biodiversity using olive oil producers' willingness to accept. Land Use Policy 107: 104348.

Scarpa R, Philippidis G, Spalatro F, 2005. Product-country images and preference heterogeneity for Mediterranean food products: A discrete choice framework. Agribusiness 21: 329-349.

Schaafsma M, 2015. Spatial and geographical aspects of benefit transfer. In: Benefit Transfer of Environmental and Resource Values; Johnston RJ et al. (eds.). pp: 421-439. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Train K, 2009. Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation, 2nd ed. Cambridge Univ Press, UK.

Viegas I, Nunes LC, Madureira L, Fontes MA, Santos JL, 2014. Beef credence attributes: implications of substitution effects on consumers' WTP. J Agric Econ 65: 600-615.

Villanueva AJ, Salazar-Ordoñez M, Granado-Díaz R, Rodríguez-Entrena M, 2021. Consumers' preferences for traditional meat products: production system and objective quality cues in Iberian ham. Ital J Anim Sci 20: 1987-2001.

Vuong QH, 1989. Likelihood ratio tests for model selection and non-nested hypotheses. Econometrica 57: 307-333.

Yamaguchi R, Shah P, 2020. Spatial discounting of ecosystem services. Resour Energy Econ 62: 101186.

Yao RT, Scarpa R, Turner JA, Barnard TD, Rose JM, Palma JHN, Harrison DR, 2014. Valuing biodiversity enhancement in New Zealand's planted forests: socioeconomic and spatial determinants of willingness-to-pay. Ecol Econ 98: 90-101.

How to Cite
Granado-DíazR., VillanuevaA. J., & Gómez-LimónJ. A. (2022). Spatial discounting in food products from high natural value agroecosystems. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 20(4), e0106.
Agricultural economics