Transparency, Animal Care Crucial for Consumer Trust


by Tom Johnston,

Get this: Only 25 percent of U.S. consumers believe firmly that the meat, milk and eggs that they buy are derived from animals that are humanely treated.

This, according to new research by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) underscoring a growing gap between consumers and the farm — and the need for food producers to provide more information about their animal care efforts in order to build trust in the food system. 

In a webinar held Thursday, Donna Moenning, senior program manager for CFI, highlighted the findings of 2015 research from a survey of 2,001 U.S. consumers — moms, foodies and millenials — exploring the role transparency plays in consumer trust in those charged with producing their food.

Bottom line: Consumers want their meat, milk and eggs from humanely treated animals and “transparency is no longer optional,” she said.

Specifically, 56 percent believe transparency with regard to treatment of animals does build trust, the study found.

Based on consumer feedback, of utmost importance was the ability to see a company’s or farmer’s practices, such as videos that describe how animal handlers are trained and demonstrate that they share consumers’ concern for animal well being. Making available a summary of audits helps as well.

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Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.  Sheep and lambs in corrals near Big Timber, Montana. March 1991.

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