Transparency is a reality that can happen to you OR you can take advantage of it. Measured animal welfare criteria need to appear in your sustainability strategy and in your sustainability reporting. Sustainable Solutions Group’s Responsible Sourcing Roadmap approach uncovers animal welfare traceability in your supply chain while advising on careful relationship-building and effective messaging to satisfy all stakeholders.
According to the global 2016 Business Benchmark for Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report, “animal welfare is now serious business rather than a niche option. Animal welfare has shot up the priority list for food companies but reporting remains “relatively underdeveloped.” Consumer and political pressure has pushed standards up beyond the niche, premium brands.”
Nation’s Restaurant News 2016 Consumer Trends finds that customers care deeply about ingredients and sourcing changes are expected. Cage-free and meat raised without antibiotics are the new norm.
The Hartman Group’s 2015 Transparency report finds animal welfare is a growing consumer concern, with consumers asking if livestock are being raised humanely and in a natural environment; if livestock are given hormones or antibiotics that may impact consumers’ health; and if animals being used in product safety testing.
In the Humane Research Council’s 2015 Animal Tracker study, 70% of adults in the U.S. have a “favorable” opinion of the animal protection cause and only 7% have an “unfavorable” opinion. The rest either have no opinion or say they don’t know. At least three in four U.S. adults believe welfare and protection are important for all animals (“very” or “somewhat”). This has held true since 2009.
According to the 2014 Improving Animal Welfare in Livestock Operations by the International Finance Corporation, “In the case of animal welfare, failure to keep pace with changing consumer expectations and market opportunities could put companies and their investors at a competitive disadvantage.”
Food Issues Trend Tracker for 2014 found 69% of respondents chose Animal Welfare as a significant transparency factor in food purchasing decisions.
A 2014 Nielsen Report regarding brand loyalty states Millennials seek brands that represent good causes and are more likely to buy from a socially responsible company.
Technomic’s 2014 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report finds that consumers are increasingly curious about what is in their restaurant food. “Telling an ingredient’s story – whether it’s farm-raised, local or GMO-free for instance, can directly impact consumer decisions about what to order and where to dine.” Food companies, therefore, need to understand traceability of ingredients to tell the story of food.
In its 2012 report, Meat on Drugs, Consumer Reports found:
In July 2012, Scientific Journal, Nature, Denmark Case Study outlines the steps Denmark has taken to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock by 60% since 1998. “The overuse of antibiotics in farm animals is a global issue,” the journal stated. “Human propensity for trade and travel ensures that resistant bacteria spread easily around the world, so as long as any one country pumps its pigs and poultry full of the drugs, everyone is at risk.”
In its 2012 report, the Hartman Group cites grass-fed meat, cage-free eggs, and heirloom marbled pork as growing trends. “Naturally raised” meat, processed factory cheese, egg whites, and The Other White Meat are on their way out.
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance own 2011 funded research shows Americans describe modern farming as: “mass production, subsidies, chemicals, factory farming and animal cruelty.”
According to a 2011 Kansas State University study, consumers will likely pay up to 20% more for meat with a mandatory label showing cage and crate information, as consumers don’t like pig gestation crates or hen battery cages.
The Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert’s 2011 Food Trends says: “Consumers will expand recognition of and commitment to social responsibilities, including the humane treatment of animals.”
The Motley Fool’s 2011 “Seeking More Humane Profits” notes: “In their search for truly ethical companies, socially responsible investors highly rank businesses that work to eradicate cruelty from their operations.”
A 2010 Ethical food study finds that nearly 70% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay more for “ethical” foods and 91% include animal welfare in their criteria defining “ethical” foods.
In 2010, after labeling eggs as being from caged or uncaged hens, sales of cage free eggs increased by 90% and sales of caged eggs fell by 50% in Australia.
A 2010 study, Consumer Perceptions of Food Production, finds that nearly 70% of U. S. respondents want to know how producers are ensuring farmed animal care.
A 2008 Hartman study reveals the need for sustainability of ingredient sourcing as part of a Corporate Responsibility (CSR) initiative. Consumers’ sustainable ingredient priorities include meat, milk, eggs, seafood, and yogurt.
The largely untapped $300B LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) market segment is 20% of the population and controls 33% of expendable dollars. LOHAS is comprised of upscale, belief-driven consumers who are committed to ethical spending and don’t switch brands to save money. LOHAS is a megatrend not to be overlooked or taken for granted. LOHAS customers will purchase your product (or not) based on their understanding of animal welfare and healthy eating criteria. You want the loyal LOHAS market committed to your brand.
Animal welfare is a top concern in some international markets; even more than local or organic.
2016 Best of Brookfield Awards for Business Management Consultant