The Austria-based phytogenic feed additive company shared with us some results of its survey looking at consumer interest in the use of phytogenic products in animal production during the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta. The results update a previous study examining consumer interest.
The survey asked 517 US-based consumers aged 26 to 36 about their interesting in the use of feed additives, labeling claims and purchasing habits, Delacon reported.
The percentage of survey respondents who said the use of feed additives like phytogenics would make a difference in what product they purchased increased, compared to the company’s previous survey results, said Markus Dedl, CEO, Delacon.
Around 43% of the consumers questioned said knowing the meat or poultry products they were buying was reared on feed including phytogenic ingredients has a highly positive influence on what they bought.
The survey also established a group of “phytogenic fans,” who highly rated phytogenic messaging. Within that group, 21% of consumers also said they would be willing to pay more for animal products raised in specific ways, the company said. The term 'environmentally friendly' was also of interest to consumers and some said they would pay up to $0.64 more per pound of meat for a product with that label.
Among the labeling claims examined, consumers preferred a concise and positive message, said Dedl.
Some of the messages used on labels make negative or “free-from” claims, he said. However, those messages may imply that other products do not meet that standard, he said.
It would be more “worthwhile” for the industry to move away from negative labeling, he added.
“People are sometimes playing with the fear of consumers. If I accuse you, and you accuse me at the end of the day we both look bad. The way out will be to look at positive labeling – transparency doesn’t mean saying what I don’t do, to me transparency means saying what I do."
The survey's results could be used to guide wording in communication intended for consumers, to help farmed animal producers develop a way to talk about “high quality" conventional meat production, said Dedl.
Producers could return value to the concept of conventional production, talking about how they produce meat to a high standard, with clear, transparent ingredients and with reasonable animal welfare compliance, he said.
“There is a lot that we, as an industry, can talk about in a positive way [about] how we operate,” he said.
Expanding interest in alternative feed additives
Feed additive producers need to support the animal production industry as it moves away from the use of medicated or other additives facing increasing regulation, he added.
The growing interest in non-medicated feed additives, like phytogenics, has been expanding globally beyond Europe and the US, he said. “We see a lot of this now also in Latin America which traditionally adopts a lot of US [developments] and also in Asia."