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Study reveals consumers value animal welfare more than environmental sustainability when buying meat and dairy products


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Animal cruelty rates are higher than green issues when consumers choose meat and dairy products.

This is according to a new study, which suggests that while consumers consider sustainability important, so are other factors such as taste, quality and quality Animal kindness Take precedence in their purchasing decisions.

On product labels, consumers appreciated information related to animal welfare, food safety, health and nutrition. The results can help producers market sustainably produced food products in a more targeted way and make them more attractive to consumers.

The study was conducted in five European countries – the Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to determine which attributes are most important to consumers who buy meat or meat. Dairy products.

Participation in Online survey3,192 participants were asked to rate the importance of 18 different factors when shopping for meat and dairy products on a scale from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (extremely important):

  • Attributes – freshness, quality/taste, Healthy foodNutrition, price, processing, special offers, ease of use/preparation and brand knowledge.
  • Animal Care Attributes – Animal Care, Outdoor/Free Range Animal Care, Pasture Care.
  • Attributes related to environmental sustainability – local production, sustainable packaging, food miles, traces of carbonAnd membership.
  • Social Sustainability – Fair trade or producer/farmer receives a fair wage.

Across all countries studied, consumers consistently prioritized freshness, quality/taste and animal welfare as the most important attributes. In contrast, environmental factors such as food miles, carbon footprint, and organic production were considered less important in influencing purchasing decisions. However, sustainability labels were viewed as beneficial among consumers.

Dr Andy Jane, co-author of the study and senior lecturer in risk management at the University of Portsmouth Business and Law School, said: “Our study highlights the complex interplay between factors that influence consumer behavior when purchasing meat and dairy products. Consumers pointed out that information about animal welfare , Food SafetyHealth and nutrition were considered more important than… Environmental sustainability When making food choices.

“The results highlight the importance of labeling strategies that include multiple aspects of product attributes, beyond environmental considerations alone.”

The implications of the research extend beyond consumers to include policy makers, producers and retailers in the food industry striving to meet evolving consumer demands for more sustainable products.

Dr Jain added: “Labels by themselves are not enough to change behaviour, especially for consumers who have low or no behavioral intention to purchase sustainable meat or dairy products.

“These findings should be translated into additional policy measures, such as motivation or behavioral interventions, to help individuals translate their attitudes into behavior and facilitate the choice of sustainably produced products.”

Research published in the magazine Food quality and preferences, This study was conducted by the Universities of Portsmouth and Newcastle in the United Kingdom, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Cordoba in Spain, Mendel University in the Czech Republic, and Agroscope from Switzerland.

more information:
Janine Amann et al., Consumers in five European countries prioritize animal welfare before environmental sustainability when purchasing meat and dairy products, Food quality and preferences (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2024.105179

Magazine information:
Food quality and preferences




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