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Animal welfare claims account for 13% of all ethically labelled products in Western Europe, compared to the USA’s 1%. Whilst businesses acknowledge animal welfare as an important business risk, approaches to animal welfare remain largely underdeveloped. The UK and Germany are the largest markets for animal welfare, accounting for 70% of value sales in the processed meat and meat substitutes category, worth over USD400 million in 2017. Denmark is the fastest-growing market, albeit from a low base, and is forecast to grow by 76% over 2017-2021.

Germany leads the way in animal welfare as meat-free products boom

Germany will remain the largest market for higher animal welfare products in Western Europe. Since 2002 animal welfare has become a key national objective in the German Constitution, and has integrated approaches to animal welfare in business ahead of its neighbours. In 2017 animal welfare was a key campaign topic in the federal elections. German pork farmers face stricter regulations than EU by this has been criticised for threatening domestic competition. Denmark is the fastest-growing market, albeit from a low base, and is expected to grow by 76% over 2017- 2021. This is because animal welfare labelling was adopted as mainstream practice at a later stage than its European rivals. Achieving high welfare and animal health standards historically, has meant that the potential for growth is immense in this market.

Responsible business is a baseline expectation of consumers

Consumers expect companies to act ethically. They also trust companies at the lowest level since the financial crisis. Mindful consumerism is on the rise as consumers develop an increased understanding of food products.

Source: Euromonitor Internationaly

Key ingredients to successful animal welfare strategies

Manufacturers and retailers are identifying animal welfare concerns as a competitive tool to differentiate themselves from competitors, add value to existing product lines, create new products and enter new markets. In order to keep up with changing consumer tastes, higher welfare standards correspond to the growing health trend by communicating higher food quality, nutritional value and product authenticity to consumers. Although consumers recognise regulation is a necessary process in benchmarking minimal ‘welfare’ standards, they see companies as more likely to drive sustainable innovations. Companies are expected to prioritise more than the bottom line in order to win consumers – and it is the leading manufacturers that are paving the way.

Animal welfare, a small fish in a sea of ethical claims

Animal welfare represents 3% of the total value sales of products with at least one ethical claim in the processed meat and meat substitutes category in 2017, with total value sales of USD571 million in Western Europe. This is because ethical claims in environment/sustainability (recycling, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, etc.) and people (clean label, origin, charity, religious labels, etc.) are longestablished, and account for over 15 well-known label types each, in comparison to three ethical claims in animal welfare. In meat substitutes, animal welfare claims accounted for 56% of total value sales in 2017. Consumers concerned with health and the ethical dilemmas of eating meat are driving sales of products with higher welfare standards. Growing interest in animal welfare from businesses, governments and consumers, and the opportunity to scale-up, indicates huge potential for value growth over the next five years.

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