News - April 26, 2018

Meat-eaters want background info on pork chops

Tessa Louwerens

Consumers want to know where their pork comes from and they are prepared to pay extra for this, according to a study by Wageningen Economic Research.

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Consumers are particularly interested in information about animal welfare and health. They are less concerned about the origin and the impact on the environment. They would also
rather not know how the pigs were transported and slaughtered. ‘I think everyone realizes that this is never nice for the animals,’ says project manager Willy Baltussen of Wageningen Economic Research.

In a study commissioned by the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, researchers held an online survey among consumers in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Over 4000 people who were known to eat pork completed the questionnaire. This showed that people were willing to pay 13 cents more per kilo on average for information about where the meat came from.

However, Baltussen says German and British consumers were less prepared to pay if the product was Dutch. ‘In those countries you see a clear preference for local products. The Netherlands is an exception in that respect: we are far less bothered about this.’

According to Baltussen, it is actually quite difficult to say what animal the meat comes from, or even what farm. ‘Mince for instance, which is the biggest pork product, is mixed in large quantities.’ He thinks the most feasible scenario is for groups of farms to collaborate in guaranteeing a certain standard.