Thursday, April 20, 2017
The production attributes that are most important to consumers when buying beef, chicken.
The production attributes that are most important to consumers when buying beef, chicken. Consumers are increasingly interested in how their food is produced and look for claims such as no growth hormones, no GMOs, etc. on food products. In a new study, no growth hormones was prioritized as most important and organic as the least important. For products like poultry, the USDA forbids the use of hormones, meaning consumers may not be well informed about production claims. For many consumers, buying a gallon of milk is much more complex than finding the preferred fat content and expiration date. They want to know how the cows were treated, what they were fed, whether they received growth hormones or antibiotics, whether the milk is organic, e.t.c. A recent University of Illinois study ranks which of these production attributes are most important to buyers for four different products: beef, chicken, milk, and eggs.The study determined the importance of seven specific on-farm practices in consumers' purchasing decisions:1) Animals were not administered growth hormones. 2) Genetically modified organisms were not used in the production of this product (non-GMO). 3)Animals were humanely raised. 4)Animals were not administered antibiotics. 5)Animals were raised in a free-range (or cage-free) environment. 6)Animals were grass-fed (or raised on a vegetarian diet). 7) The product is certified organic. The biggest surprise in the study is that 'no growth hormones' is the number one concern consumers have across the board on all of these products.The presence of such labeling claims can determine the sales of one product over another identical product. Labels also provide a way for consumers to express their opinions by voting with their dollars. They can purchase products labeled with concerns that are important to them.