Eggs and poultry are rated as the top areas of animal welfare focus for consumers in Denmark, where the level of overall welfare awareness among shoppers now stands at 70%, according to the results of a survey carried out for the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (DAFC).
Based on the responses of a total of 1030 people, aged 18-70 years, the survey found that 63% of Danes think about animal welfare to a “high or very high” degree when buying eggs with the equivalent awareness rating for chicken being put at 46%.
This compares with welfare awareness scores of 37% for dairy products, 36% for pork, 34% for beef and 33% for veal.
DAFC consumer economist, Marianne Gregersen, commented that there has been a shift in recent years in consumer awareness, firstly due to retailers starting to focus on animal welfare and, secondly, because of a rising focus on the issue among farmers. Media attention has also risen in relation to welfare concerns.
“The survey shows that animal welfare is not only in the minds of many consumers but is also something to which they attach importance when they shop,” said Ms Gregersen (pictured above), noting that 11% of Danish consumers say animal welfare is the factor which has the greatest impact on what foods they choose. “That’s up from just 3% in 2011.”
She also claimed that this is good for Danish producers, adding: “Consumers are often faced with a choice of Danish or foreign foods when shopping. But in the eyes of consumers, there is broad consensus that the best welfare comes from Danish food production.”
When DAFC sought to find out, however, how much consumers views are based on real knowledge and understanding of animal welfare, it was revealed that that shoppers generally “do not have a large or concrete knowledge of what conditions animals in Danish agriculture live under”. As such, it was found that product purchase, made according to welfare-based selections, relies heavily on “feelings, beliefs and faith”.