A new initiative looking at consumer reactions to pig and poultry production systems will help the industry to answer the question ‘Can we get consumers to buy more British?’, reports the Pig & Poultry Fair.
Two groups of shoppers visited either a broiler unit or a pig breeding and finishing unit in February, where they learnt about all aspects of production. Their responses will be revealed as part of the headline debate at this year’s British Pig & Poultry Fair, organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) and Associated British Nutrition (ABN). The show ©to be held 11-12 May at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, UK.
Standards of cleanliness
“The high standards of cleanliness and animal husbandry they witnessed came as a considerable surprise to some of them,” says ABN’s commercial services director Angela Booth. “The consumers’ reactions to the visits have provided us with some valuable insights, most notably the huge amount of misinformation they had which influenced their shopping choices.”
“They were pleasantly surprised to find chickens not in cages and also the reality of the farrowing crate,” said’s Alice Bell, RASE. “Space was a concern, but they were very pragmatic and could see the animals were healthy and the standards were good. They also recognised how privileged they were to visit the farms.”
The greatest surprise – and disappointment for the industry – was the lack of understanding about the Red Tractor and what it stood for, reports continue. Very few had heard of the scheme and of those that had most weren’t 100% sure what it meant.
The initiative for the farm visits and consumer discussions stems from the Pig and Poultry Live conference in 2009 where a mere 15% of consumers said they consciously choose British pig and poultry products, leaving 85% who said they either don’t, or only sometimes, choose British products. It was these findings and the fact that 97% of the shoppers felt either not informed or only partially informed about what they were buying which highlighted an opportunity for the industry to educate and inform.