Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Dr. Kenrett Y. Jefferson-Moore


The global and domestic dairy markets promise exciting opportunities for companies willing to adapt to a continuously evolving consumer market. However, local dairy farmers face a myriad of challenges as they navigate low milk prices, shrinking margins, increasing production cost, and a rising demand for plant-based varieties of milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy-based foods. The goal of this research was to investigate consumer behavior towards value-added local dairy products in North Carolina’s Triangle cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Data were used from an overarching project with collected data from food consumers in the triangle tri-city area using a well-structured questionnaire which yielded a sample size of 102 respondents. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, logit regression and conjoint model. The study revealed that label preference was the most important factor affecting the willingness to pay for local yogurt by consumers in the study area. This means that consumers’ choice of local yogurt as a dairy product will depend on it being labelled as a North Carolina product. Consumers in North Carolina had a higher level of satisfaction from yogurt produced from cow, produced within 100 miles, purchased at grocery stores and low priced. It can however be implied that production location, animal source, price and purchase location were important attributes for consumers in deciding to buy yogurt. The study recommends that more agribusinesses must be encouraged to increase the production and commercialization of value-added dairy products in North Carolina. This is because the findings of the study revealed that consumers were willing to pay a premium for yogurt with the North Carolina label and this can improve the profitability for the firms. Cattle farmers should be supported with resources to be able to increase production or cows. This is because most consumers prefer yogurt from cow. Government and stakeholders in the dairy industry should also intensify awareness that dairy products from goat and sheep are also very nutritious for consumers. This will also improve cattle and sheep farming in North Carolina.