Consumers Confused By Welfare Labelling

UK - A consumer survey has led AB Sustain to call for the scrapping of the wide array of 'confusing' animal welfare labels.
calendar icon 27 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

A huge 83 per cent of shoppers find the abundance of animal welfare logos and labels on fresh meat packs 'confusing', according to new research – and an even greater 93 per cent would like to see the labels abolished and each retailer implement their own single standard, assuring consumers that a high level of animal welfare has been adhered to.

The feeling appears to be reasonably consistent across all age groups. Over-55s are the most in favour of each retailer implementing their own standard, with 88 per cent of those polled in that age category finding the number of labels confusing, against 81 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds. Some 98 per cent of over-55s support the introduction of a single standard per retailer, against 89 per cent of the youngest age category.

The research was conducted by AB Sustain, the food and drink sustainability experts, in order to assess shoppers' understanding of animal welfare labelling.

The research also found that some 65 per cent of consumers are prepared to pay a premium for meat and fish that has been ethically and humanely treated throughout its life cycle – with only 27 per cent saying they would definitely not consider paying extra.

Johanna Buitelaar Warden, head of animal welfare at AB Sustain, said: "From RSPCA Freedom Food to Red Tractor, plus the retailers' own labels, there is a vast array of different logos on the meat and fish on sale in UK supermarkets – all of which can become very confusing for shoppers, who by and large just want to do the right thing.

"We believe that instead of the vast number of schemes and logos on meat and fish in the UK, each often assuring different things, the retailers need to implement their own respective standards. People should be well informed about what these schemes stand for and should feel confident that each retailer is sticking to a high level of animal welfare consistent with their reputation. It seems that the vast majority of people agree with our theory."

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