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Animals 2018, 8(8), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8080128

Are They Buying It? United States Consumers’ Changing Attitudes toward More Humanely Raised Meat, Eggs, and Dairy

1
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), New York, NY 10018, USA
2
Lake Research Partner, Washington, DC 20036, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animals)
Full-Text   |   PDF [251 KB, uploaded 25 July 2018]

Simple Summary

The lack of a consistent approval process for animal welfare claims in the US has allowed for misleading labeling of meat, eggs, and dairy. Products that do have meaningful welfare certifications tend to be more expensive. We administered a survey to determine consumers’ attitudes towards welfare certifications and the willingness to pay for foods from animals raised under more humane conditions. Most respondents (78%) thought it was important to know that animal-welfare assessments are conducted by an independent third party or the federal government (and not only the industry producer). The majority of respondents would be willing to pay extra for foods with a trustworthy welfare certification both in supermarkets and in restaurants. Our findings underscore the importance of eliminating fraudulent or misleading claims that can erode consumer trust and suggest that retailers can best serve consumers who are interested in higher welfare products by stocking products with certifications that convey meaningful information on the animal welfare standards from the source farms.

Abstract

This survey research sampled 1000 US (United States) consumers of meat, eggs, and dairy on their attitudes towards the welfare of farm animals and the willingness to pay for products with trustworthy welfare certifications. Most respondents (70%) reported paying attention to labels that indicate how the animals were raised and 78% believed there should be an objective third party to ensure farm animal welfare. The weighted average of the marginal willingness to pay for products raised under a trustworthy welfare certification was $0.79 for eggs (a 32% premium) and $0.96 for 1 lb. of chicken breast (a 48% premium). In addition, 57% of respondents reported they would be likely to choose a restaurant because it serves welfare-certified animal products and are also willing to pay ≥$5.00 extra per entrée. These findings suggest that many US consumers, particularly millennials, would be willing to seek out higher welfare products if they trust the label claims. View Full-Text
Keywords: farm animal welfare; chicken; dairy; eggs; beef; consumer confusion; willingness to pay; welfare certification; humane meat; food labels farm animal welfare; chicken; dairy; eggs; beef; consumer confusion; willingness to pay; welfare certification; humane meat; food labels
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Spain, C.V.; Freund, D.; Mohan-Gibbons, H.; Meadow, R.G.; Beacham, L. Are They Buying It? United States Consumers’ Changing Attitudes toward More Humanely Raised Meat, Eggs, and Dairy. Animals 2018, 8, 128.

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