Study finds people believe free range-eggs tastier, nutritious and safer
Washington D.C. [USA], May 7 : A study finds that most people choose to buy free-range eggs over eggs from caged hens because they think that cage-free eggs have better quality, are more nutritious and taste better.This finding suggests that consumers are more likely to purchase a food product if it is both "ethical" and viewed as being of better quality, rather than for ethical reasons alone.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide in South Australia reported motivations for buying free-range eggs included reasons such as the eggs were of better quality, more nutritious and safer to eat and that they allowed purchasers to avoid "industrialised" food.
Lead author Dr. Heather J. Bray from the School of Humanities and the Food Values Research Group at the University of Adelaide commented, "Taste and quality are strong motivations for purchasing and may be part of the reason why people are prepared to pay a higher price.
"These findings suggest that consumers think about animal welfare in a much broader way than we previously thought and in particular they believe that better welfare is connected to a better quality product."
Despite the participants describing caged-egg production as "cruel", they did not tend to emphasize welfare reasons as critical for their purchases of free-range eggs.
Instead, the participants felt that the free-range chickens were "happier" and thus produced a better quality of product.
The study also revealed that there were high levels of awareness among participants of caged-egg production when compared to other types of animal farming.
To collect the data for the study, the researchers conducted focus groups and shopping mall interviews with 73 participants and asked about their food purchasing habits.
Then they categorised the different reasons that people gave for their decisions to understand why they choose the food they do, especially when there are ethical issues and competing values involved.
The consumer motivations behind purchasing products with ethical production claims, in order to explore whether changes in production methods or labelling would be supported by consumers.
The study appeared in journal of Anthrozoos.