Marketing farm animal welfare emma roe


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Marketing farm animal welfare emma roe

  1. 1. Marketing Farm animal welfare For a long time legislation has been the commonest way of protecting farm animal welfare but more recently growing consumer demand both for quality food products and more ethical food production has meant that farm animal welfare is emerging as an area of potential added value for producers, retailers and other food chain actors. To support chain actors in their efforts, Welfare Quality® has been investigating the impact of these new consumer demands, and the current industry responses to them. Research carried out by Welfare Quality® in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, France and Italy looked at how animal welfare is mobilised from farm to supermarket shelf as a means of both achieving increased product value and broader ethical branding. Animal Welfare and product differentiation In some countries, more than 100 such products Two main groups are driving the segmentation of were identified. food products and product ranges on the basis of animal welfare: However, Welfare Quality® research also shows • onsumers, seeking to buy products from c that specific welfare conditions are increasingly farms with higher standards of welfare. included as part of quality assurance schemes • ood chain actors (retailers, processors, f used by abattoirs, transporters and farmers. manufacturers, producer cooperatives) This new strategy shows that animal welfare exercising and displaying their ethical is often important for market access and responsibilities. that more products conforming to additional Welfare Quality® research shows this market welfare standards are entering the market than segmentation operates in two, often related, a census of only identifiable product labelling ways: a) through the use of specific welfare would suggest. This indicates that animal claims on products and, b) the inclusion welfare is becoming a component of broader of welfare conditions within supply chain notions of quality. It also shows the ethical and assurance schemes. quality commitment of food suppliers to their consumers. Through a detailed inventory and assessment of food products with welfare claims Animal Welfare and product quality available to consumers across Europe, Welfare Despite the growth in the use of welfare Quality® research shows significant use of conditions revealed by our study, there are animal welfare as a component of product very few dedicated animal welfare labelling differentiation. schemes. In general, improved animal welfare is Statements that are perceived to be linked to communicated to consumers in three ways: animal welfare such as ‘free range’, ‘grass fed’, • he active use of animal welfare claims on t ‘outdoor reared’, ‘absence of growth promoters’ product packaging; and ‘slower growth’ are appearing on a large • he use of independent labels that support a t number of animal-based food products. particular production system considered to
  2. 2. This research was executed within offer better welfare to animals; health, productivity and product quality, the first Subproject of Welfare • nd through the bundling of a range a and when producers are unable to access Quality®. of desirable product qualities implicitly higher value markets or respond to consumer It investigates societal attitudes conveyed through a brand. demand. In different European countries, and practices among consumers, Welfare Quality® research has shown how farmers and retailers, as they impact upon animal welfare. Welfare Quality® research shows that producer groups, manufacturers and retailers It assesses to what extent new while many food producers and suppliers have responded to this potential in different welfare strategies might be welcome the growth of welfare conditions ways, yet a number of common challenges achievable in practice. Subproject as a component of product and brand remain. leader is Unni Kjærnes, Unni. differentiation, the use of dedicated stand-alone welfare labelling is not widely Because of the nature of the premium market, supported. Tighter standards of animal only some cuts can be sold as premium welfare are seen as contributing to the quality products that benefit from value quality of the product – as well as the quality addition, so the opportunity remains to find commitment of the producer and supplier. a premium market for as many products That is why animal welfare is usually bundled as possible from animals produced to high up with other product ‘qualities’ such as welfare standards. Assessment procedures, nature, tradition, environmental benefits, and critical to the validity of welfare claims, need organic production, thus appealing to a wide to be flexible enough to support diverse range of consumer interests and concerns. brand demands and encourage welfare Across Europe, clear differences emerge improvements throughout the food chain. with French and Italians often favouring The Welfare Quality® assessment will offer gastronomic qualities while the northern a flexible tool to compliment the market’s countries more often link welfare with diverse welfare commitments and, by environmental concerns. introducing animal based parameters, will provide greater clarity to welfare claims. Animal Welfare and added value Through appropriate regulation and market Animal welfare is a component of added mechanisms working together to raise the value. Not only can improved animal welfare welfare quality of European farm animals, conditions contribute to the generation of suppliers and consumers alike can benefit. higher commodity prices, but lower welfare conditions are proving costly. That cost comes Dr Emma Roe, through harmful effects on the animals’ Prof Henry Buller, Coordinator Prof. Dr Harry J. Blokhuis, The Netherlands Welfare Quality® is a European research project focusing on the integration of animal in the food quality chain. The project aims to accommodate societal concerns and market demands, to develop reliable on-farm monitoring systems, product information systems, andProject Office Welfare Quality® practical species-specific strategies to improve farm animal welfare. Forty-four institutes andAnimal Sciences Group of Wageningen UR universities, representing thirteen European countries and four Latin American countries,Postbox 65, 8200 AB Lelystad participate in this integrated research project.The NetherlandsPhone: +31 320 293503 Welfare Quality® is co-financed by the European Commission, within the 6th FrameworkFax: +31 320 238050 Programme, contract no. FOOD-CT-2004-5065087.e-mail The text represents the authors’ views and does not necessarily represent a position of the who will not be liable for the use made of such information. Pictures© WUR-ASG, BvBeeld