Consumers Value Treatment Of Animals Higher Than Green Issues When Buying Products, Study Says

A recent study showed that consumers seem to value more the treatment of animals than ”green” issues when purchasing certain products.

Experts underscored that while consumers consider sustainability important when buying dairy and meat products, other factors such as taste, quality, and animal welfare take precedence in their decision to buy these things.

Product Labels

When it comes to product labels, consumers give utmost importance about the information regarding animal welfare, food safety, and health and nutrition.

Food production systems, especially meat and dairy supply chains, are known to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

An important question emerges as to whether consumers care about the environmental sustainability when buying food products because this can help in determining their consumption practices.

Scientists pointed out that if sustainability labels are available, identifying information that is relevant to consumers is also necessary.

The latest study aims to identify the attributes that are most important for consumers when buying meat or dairy products and those which are perceived to be helpful when it comes to sustainability labels on meat and dairy products and important label properties.

To recall, an online survey was conducted in five European countries, such as Czechia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In these places, it was found that consumers valued similar attributes when buying meat and dairy products across all countries.

Direct comparisons of mean values and hedonic scores across cultures should be made with care, according to those behind the survey, as cultural differences can lead to individual response styles.

The survey results found out that freshness, quality or taste and animal welfare emerged as the most important attributes. On the other hand, environmental attributes such as food miles, carbon footprint, and organic production were considered to be the least important.

It was also found that sustainability labels for meat and dairy products were perceived as helpful to the buyers of these products.

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Food Consumption

Regression analysis further identified similar patterns within all five countries when it comes to the predictors of the perceived helpfulness of the sustainability labels.

It was established that consumers’ attitudes on sustainable food consumption, environmental attitudes, and food production and policies have emerged as significant positive predictors in most models.

On the other hand, the pieces of information regarding animal welfare, food safety, and health and nutrition were perceived as being more significant than environmental sustainability.

These pieces of information have suggested that the food choice decisions are unlikely to be made based on the environmental sustainability of a food product’s production alone.

Further, the findings align with research that has indicated that taste and price are usually the main drivers that determine food consumption in general as well as meat, specifically.

Information on environmental sustainability was perceived as less important than animal welfare and health and safety information, which was most appreciated on a sustainability label.

Personal attitudes were also more important than socio-demographic characteristics when people evaluated the perceived usefulness of labels.

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