Overcoming challenges and improvements in best-worst elicitation: Determining what matters to Japanese wheat millers

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of International Choice Modelling Conference 2013, 2013, pp. 1 - 19
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Knowing how to produce what types of wheat with what characteristics and in what quantities is a key challenge for producer countries like Australia to successfully export wheat to various markets that consume it. Both producers and consumers would benefit by better matching what is produced to what the market(s) prefer and are willing to pay to have produced. Analysis of decision-maker choices is difficult as there are only a small number of millers in any one country that make buying decisions. Moreover, the buyers tend to use an extensive list of quality characteristics to inform their purchases. This research provides details of some of the insights that have been gained into this decision making context using best-worst scaling (BWS), as a choice-based measurement and modelling approach. The survey instrument was administered using CAPI in personal interviews with Japanese flour millers. A small number of flour millers in Japan supply the entire government regulated market with products like Udon and Ramen noodles. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 14 individuals from four different companies that account for about 74 per cent of wheat flour production in Japan. These individuals play various roles in wheat buying, production, distribution and marketing, such as production managers, quality control specialists and new product and scientific development managers. Based on the literature and pilot discussions with wheat buyers, a list was compiled of 31 factors (attributes) that could be considered by the individuals who influence wheat buying decisions. These included technical attributes (e.g., viscograph peak height; farinograph dough stability, etc) as well as attributes common in most business-to-business trade settings that are often cited as important in many agricultural trade contexts (e.g., price; country of origin; uniformity of shipment, etc).
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