Animal welfare is consumers’ top concern

Animal welfare is top of the list of consumer concerns according to the results of new research by Mintel, although there’s no evidence shoppers would be willing to pay more for high welfare foods.

The Mintel study, which focused on consumer reactions to the ethical claims currently being made by food and drink companies, found that 74% of those questioned placed “meat coming from animals which are looked after well” as their top issue. In addition, 60% wanted companies to guarantee the ingredients used in products are responsibly sourced while 57% supported companies with good worker welfare.

“Ethics is becoming ever more ingrained into food and drink operators’ sourcing policies but it is a complex area which is important to get right,” said Mintel’s senior food analyst, Richard Ford, adding that the fact that animal welfare ranks as the top ethical concern added credence to the suggestion that Britain is a nation of animal lovers.”

Mr Ford (pictured above) also warned that the advance of social media meant that any accusation of unethical practice can now “spread fast”.

As regards their willingness to pay for welfare, however, Mintel’s research found “some limitations” among the 1500 consumers who were questioned, with 52% saying they would only pay more for ethical products if they understood clearly where the extra money went.

The headline image also shows an illustration from the report – The Ethical Food Consumer UK 2015

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