For many consumers, buying a gallon of milk is much more complex than finding the preferred fat content and expiration date. They want to know how the cows were treated, what they were fed, whether they received growth hormones or antibiotics, whether the milk is organic, and so on. A recent University of Illinois study ranks which of these production attributes are most important to buyers for four different products: beef, chicken, milk, and eggs.
The study determined the importance of seven specific on-farm practices in consumers’ purchasing decisions….
The top three attributes overall were “no growth hormones”, “non-GMO”, and “humanely raised”, though there were differences in importance based on product type. The “organic” attribute was ranked lowest in importance for consumers.
“When most people hear the term ‘organic,’ they think of produce, fruits, and vegetables. I don’t think the term translates as well to animals. Consequently, consumers may not understand that the organic certification for meat and other animal products actually already includes a lot of these other production attributes,” [said U of I food economist and lead researcher Brenna Ellison.]
[Read the full study here (behind paywall)]
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