Consumers‘ Perception of Feed Origin in Organic Food Products Declared as Local

Salome Wägeli, Ulrich Hamm


accompanied by an increasing demand for organic animal feed which could not be satisfied by the supply of German organic farmers only, especially with regard to protein feed. To fill this gap between demand and supply, a high amount of protein feed is imported. Due to the new EU Regulation 889/2008, which from 2015 on requires the use of 100% organic feed in organic farming, even more organic animal feed will be needed. However, the high amount of imported organic feed is opposed to a growing consumer demand for local food products. Consumers have become increasingly aware of production processes and are concerned about their food choices. But so far, it is unknown if consumers include feed origin in their understanding of local supply chains. The aim of the research project was to analyse organic consumers’ understanding and perception of feed origin. If consumers prefer local feed, this would open up a new market opportunity for German organic farmers: A new market segment of local organic animal products from animals which have been raised with local feed could be established. Three focus group discussions with 8 to 12 participants were conducted in three towns in Germany. The results show that organic consumers have little knowledge about organic food production and feeding. Information about the import of organic feed is likely to unsettle organic consumers and undermine their trust in organic production. However, the results of our study indicate a high consumer preference for products from animals raised with local feed.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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