Consumer’s pork purchasing criteria and the relevance of animal welfare – a cross-national study

Rebecca Derstappen, Inken Christoph-Schulz


Social acceptance of livestock farming has been declining since the turn of the millennium in many European countries, whereas in Asia, the topic is currently not very relevant. Ethical aspects in terms of livestock farming play an increasingly important role in this regard. The call for higher animal welfare standards is growing louder. Especially the husbandry conditions of pigs are controversially discussed in society, industry and politics. However, the implementation of higher animal welfare standards brings along higher production costs at farm-level and leads to higher consumer prices as a result. An exploratory cross-national study (Poland, Italy, Japan and South Korea) was conducted in order to provide insights into consumer attitudes, preferences and possible willingness to pay for pork, considering the influence and importance of pork purchasing criteria and animal welfare. Therefore, the following four research questions should be answered: What kind of consumer preferences can be observed in the study countries in relation to pork? What are important purchasing criteria when buying pork? How do consumers in different countries perceive animal welfare as a purchasing factor and what is the relevance of animal welfare for them? Is there a willingness to pay a premium price for pork produced under higher animal welfare standards? In order to gain initial impressions, five online focus groups have taken place in each study country and were analyzed by using a qualitative content analysis according to Mayring. First results imply that consumer knowledge regarding the subject animal welfare differs between the European (Poland and Italy) and the Asian study countries (Japan and South Korea), although generally the knowledge about the concept animal welfare is limited in each study country. When it comes to pork purchasing habits, all participants empathized that freshness, appearance, quality as well as the origin of the meat and the price are important. The concept of animal welfare was also rated differently among the four study countries. Nevertheless, almost all participants link higher animal welfare standards with higher quality meat and therefore, see a personal benefit. Overall, it can be noted that there are big differences between the analyzed nations and there is a particular need for information when it comes to the concept of animal welfare.

Full Text:



ISSN 2194-511X


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License