Consumers want honest labelling

Labelling of Meat and Dairy Products Research

To what extent does food labelling in relation to animal welfare influence consumers’ choices in deciding which foods to buy? Labelling Matters commissioned Qa Research to investigate customers’ perceptions of current methods of food labelling and to what degree they take this into account when deciding what to buy.

Capturing perceptions

Qa Research was commissioned by Labelling Matters, a joint project of Compassion in World Farming, RSPCA, Soil Association and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), to undertake comprehensive research regarding animal welfare-related food labelling in Europe. The research, one of the most comprehensive to have taken place on animal welfare-related food labelling in Europe, was carried out in the UK, France and The Czech Republic amongst a total sample of 3,003 respondents.

Specifically, the research was required to:

  • Evaluate attitudes towards animal welfare when purchasing food and the degree to which consumers take this account when deciding what to buy
  • Understand perceptions of current method of production labelling
  • Explore understanding of, and attitudes towards, a proposed scheme for method of production labelling for poultry meat
  • Determine the degree to which consumers would like to see the proposed poultry meat scheme introduced.

Undertaking the survey

The research was carried out in three countries – the UK, France and the Czech Republic. Interviewing was undertaken via a commercial access panel provider amongst a representative sample of residents in each country. To ensure the sample was representative, quotas were set on recruitment, based on region, age and gender. The survey took around 15 minutes to complete and was delivered online with answer lists and key questions rotated and randomised, as appropriate, within the survey.

Key Findings

Based on packaging alone, there is genuine confusion amongst many consumers regarding the method of production used to produce meat and dairy foods. These findings suggest that there is a need for increased clarity regarding method production on meat and dairy products. Animal welfare is an important influence on which food products they purchase amongst the majority of respondents in each country.

There is also evidence to suggest that awareness of the EU egg labelling system is comparatively good. More than four-fifths in each country said that they would like to see the egg labelling system extended to ‘all meat and dairy products’.

What the client said about the research:

In 15 years of commissioning external services for NGOs and other organisations I’ve rarely experienced such a positive and constructive working relationship. Qa listened, engaged, established confidence, delivered on time throughout the process, and proved excellent value for money. I cannot recommend Qa highly enough.

What others said:

For more information about this research, follow the links below to the online media press releases that featured the report: