The paper examined the potential demand for a food specialty dairy product, cheese, with alternative multiple labels. A random-parameter logit model was applied to interpret the results of online discrete choice experiments (DCE) for the elicitation of the preference of the cheese consumers surveyed in two European countries, France (n = 400) and Italy (n = 408). We analyzed consumers' choices of quality-labeled cheeses, i.e., protected-designation-of-origin (PDO)-labeled Parmigiano Reggiano and Comté. Other features were tested, such as organic (Comté) and Mountain Product (Parmigiano Reggiano) labels, companies' brands and price. The paper contributes to the literature on credence attributes by examining consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for differentiated cheese products in two EU countries, and by identifying the effects of personal characteristics, in terms of socio-demographics and level of product involvement, on the differences in preferences. The results show that price was the most important attribute in both countries, followed by the PDO quality label, particularly when paired with the second quality feature. Two cheese consumer segments were identified via latent class models in each country, helping producers to improve their marketing of agri-food products with a high gastronomic value and differentiation potential.
Keywords: Mountain Product; discrete choice experiment; organic label; protected-designation-of-origin (PDO) cheese; willingness to pay.