Different consumer segments’ interest in information about dairy cattle welfare measures

Sophie de Graaf, Filiep Vanhonacker, Jo Bijttebier, Ludwig Lauwers, Frank Tuyttens, Wim Verbeke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingC3: Conference Abstractpeer-review


Concerns about farm animal welfare are growing, but interest in animal welfare and related information, is not necessarily homogenous across consumers. Different consumer segments may exist, requiring different communication strategies for animal-friendly products. To unravel opportunities for marketing animal-friendly milk, a survey among 786 consumers was conducted in Flanders, Belgium. Segments were identified based on respondents’ intention to purchase animal-friendly milk (IP) and on their evaluation of the current dairy cattle welfare in Flanders (EV). Next, between- and within-segment differences for interest in information about welfare (measures and criteria of the Welfare Quality® protocol (WQ) for dairy cattle) were identified by asking to what degree respondents wished to be informed when buying milk. Six segments were identified, accounting for 24% (S1), 8% (S2), 24% (S3), 4% (S4), 16% (S5), 24% (S6) of the sample. The smallest segments (S2 and S4) were considered as ‘extreme’. S2 indicated very high IP and negative EV whereas S4 indicated very low IP and positive EV. S1 was more similar to S2, with high IP, and positive EV. S6 leaned towards S4, with low IP and neutral EV. S5 and S3 both indicated neutral IP, where S5 reported positive, and S3 rather negative EV. Interest in information differed (ANOVA; P<0.001): S4 (means ranging from 27–36), S5 (27-59) and S6 (33-45), indicated least interest, followed by S1 (44-78) and S3 (44-73) and S2 (66-94) (post-hoc; all P<0.05). Regarding interest in information for the WQ measures, most segments gave the lowest score to ‘Number of difficult calvings’ (mean±SD: 40±30) and highest to ‘Showing negative behaviour’ (61±34), ‘Access to pasture’(60±32), and ‘Showing positive behaviour’ (60±33). Most segments scored the WQ criteria ‘Expression of social behaviour’ (55±33) and ‘Expression of other normal behaviour’ (55±33) lowest, and ‘Freedom of movement’ (65±32) and ‘Absence of diseases’ (63±34) highest (post-hoc; all P<0.05). We conclude that consumer interest in information increased with an increasing IP, with S1 and S2 as potential loyal consumers of animal-friendly products, and S4 as least promising. Generally, the measures ‘Access to pasture’ and ‘Showing positive/negative behaviour’ and the criteria ‘Freedom of movement’ and ‘Absence of diseases’ were promising selling propositions in future communication about animal-friendly milk and are therefore important to measure on-farm in dairy cattle welfare assurance schemes.
Original languageDutch
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 50th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology 12-15th July, 2016, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
Publication date12-Jul-2016
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-287-0
Publication statusPublished - 12-Jul-2016
EventISAE 2016 - Schotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 12-Jul-201616-Jul-2016

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