Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Segmentation of Australian meat consumers on the basis of attitudes regarding farm animal welfare and the environmental impact of meat production

Lenka Malek A C , Wendy J. Umberger A and John Rolfe B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Global Food and Resources, Faculty of the Professions, The University of Adelaide, Level 6 NEXUS 10 Tower, 10 Pulteney Street, SA 5005, Australia.

B School of Business and Law, Central Queensland University, North Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: lenka.malek@adelaide.edu.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17058
Submitted: 2 February 2017  Accepted: 1 June 2017   Published online: 4 August 2017

Abstract

While public concern over the welfare of farm animals is believed to have intensified across Australia in recent years, no empirical research has sought to examine and quantify the heterogeneity in farm animal-welfare (FAW) concerns among Australian meat consumers. The present study is the first to address this knowledge gap. Data were collected in 2015 by using a comprehensive online survey instrument completed by a representative sample of 1009 Australian meat consumers. Sample quotas were set for age, gender and location. Using these data, we were able to segment meat consumers according to their attitudes towards FAW and perceptions regarding the environmental impact of meat production. Six unique segments were identified and characterised by purchase behaviour, livestock-management knowledge, farming background and experience, beliefs regarding the consumer/farmer implications of improved FAW, influential information sources, participation in FAW-related activities and socio-demographic variables. Our findings showed that the majority of Australian meat consumers (70%) hold neutral views regarding FAW. However, there are two segments, termed ‘concerned-FAW’ (10%) and ‘anti-FAW’ (20%), which expressed strong views with respect to FAW. Overall, consumer knowledge regarding livestock-management practices was low across all segments, with only 11–42% of consumers indicating that they felt sufficiently informed about FAW. This insight into perceptions of FAW by different segments and the impact of meat production on the environment can assist the industry in developing targeted information campaigns to address consumer concerns and allow better-informed meat purchase decisions.

Additional keywords: credence attributes, cluster analysis, factor analysis, online survey.


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