International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Segmentation Based on Consumers' Perceived Importance and Attitude toward Farm Animal Welfare

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 15, issue 3 (2007), pages 91-107

Authors: Filiep Vanhonackera, Wim Verbekea, Els Van Pouckeb and Frank A.M. Tuyttensb
Affiliation: aDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; bInstitute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research, Animal Sciences, Animal Husbandry and Welfare, Melle, Belgium

ISSN: 0798-1759


Abstract

Animal welfare is subject to increased societal concern and consumer interest. However, not everybody considers animal welfare as equally important or reason of concern. As a consequence, it is relevant from a socio-economic perspective to identify segments differing in public opinion toward animal welfare as well as in animal welfare related behaviour as consumers. In this study, a cluster analysis is performed using a cross-sectional dataset of 459 residents of Flanders, Belgium, gathered in 2006. The perceived importance attached to animal welfare as a product attribute in the food purchasing decision process relative to other product attributes (relative importance; RI) is investigated, as well as the subjective evaluation of the current state of farm animal welfare (evaluation; EV) as segmentation variables. Six clusters are obtained: cluster 1 with moderate RI and positive EV (21.1%); cluster 2 with very low RI and strong positive EV (12.9%); cluster 3 with low RI and moderate EV (18.7%); cluster 4 with moderate RI and low EV (12.6%); cluster 5 with high RI and moderate EV (23.5%); cluster 6 with very high RI and very negative EV (11.1%). The clusters have been characterised in terms of social determinants of attitude toward animal welfare, meat consumption behaviour, knowledge about animal welfare, and interest in information. Based on this segmentation exercise and segment’s profiles, we identified market opportunities for higher animal welfare products.

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