New research has revealed that eight out of ten UK consumers want to know which farm system has been used to produce their meat and dairy products.
The research was commissioned by Labelling Matters, a joint project of WSPA, Compassion in World Farming, RSPCA and the Soil Association, and is the one of the most comprehensive to have taken place on animal welfare-related food labelling in Europe.
It found that the welfare of farm animals was an important factor when choosing food and that there is a strong demand by UK shoppers for a mandatory method of production labelling.
83% of UK consumers want labelling which clearly identifies the farm system used to produce the food, extended to meat and dairy products. Currently, only eggs and fish have to be labelled according to their method of production.
Almost as many, 79%, said farm animal welfare was important when deciding which food products to buy.
WSPA Chief Policy Advisor Lesley Lambert said: “The current system of labelling meat and dairy products is confusing and shoppers can be misled by labels which imply good welfare standards when in reality the products come from animals reared in intensive systems.
This research shows the consumers want to know about how their food is produced, and that they could then use that information to make animal friendly purchasing decisions.”
The Labelling Matters coalition is calling on the European Union to extend production method labelling to all meat and dairy products so consumers are no longer kept in the dark about where their food actually comes from and instead have a transparent choice at the checkout.