Consumers confident in UK farming
Messages about the environmental credentials of UK farming are reaching consumers, research from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has revealed.
The study by AHDB and Blue Marble found 65% of consumers think UK farmers care about the planet. This was the highest score within the food supply chain, ranking above food processors, supermarkets, food services and government agencies. They also found nearly half of consumers (46%) agree farming has a ‘somewhat or very positive’ impact on the UK environment.
Previous findings also indicate farmers are consistently the most trusted part of the food supply chain. In AHDB’s annual study with Blue Marble, the 2021 results show 70% of consumers trust farmers; this compares to 53% for retailers. This research also highlighted that across the supply chain, consumers value farmers for their expertise, care for the environment and commitment to animal welfare.
Sustainable farming brings communications opportunity for UK farmers
For farmers, this creates an exciting opportunity to play an important role in building the story around the sustainability of UK agriculture, says AHDB. This could involve communicating with consumers about the sustainable practices UK farmers use.
Further findings show 54% of consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of imported meat and dairy. This suggests they have some understanding of the differences between the UK and other global production systems when it comes to sustainability.
Again, this may signal a chance for farmers to continue telling the story around the environmental benefits of UK production systems. AHDB has been supporting farmers with this through its “We Eat Balanced” campaign, showcasing the environmental credentials of UK farming. Through TV ads, targeted advertising and a social media campaign, We Eat Balanced has reached 88% of UK households. It has also positively influenced consumer perceptions around the sustainability of British meat and dairy, both of which increased 5% and 8% respectively.
We Eat Balanced highlights UK farmers' stories
Commenting on the research findings, AHDB’s Senior Consumer Insight Manager Steven Evans said: “Consumers who are concerned about the environmental impact of foods want to hear more from farmers about what they do, and how they are working to become even more sustainable.
“Our We Eat Balanced social campaign focuses on telling farmers’ stories and I hope farmers will be encouraged by this research to share more of their stories with consumers.”
While AHDB is not currently looking for new We Eat Balanced farming ambassadors, they are encouraging all farmers to share stories using #ProudToFarm. For more information about AHDB’s research and what it means for farmers, visit: https://ahdb.org.uk/news/consumer-insight-the-environmental-impact-of-farming-consumer-perception
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