Majority of consumers think farmers care about the planet and have a positive impact on the environment

New consumer research from AHDB shows 65 per cent of consumers think UK farmers care about the planet, ahead of all others in the food supply chain.

And regardless of dietary choice, just under half think UK farming practices have a positive impact on the environment. Bolstering previous AHDB findings that farmers are the most trusted in the food supply chain.

With the impact of climate change leading the public agenda over recent years, consumers say they are most concerned about the environmental impact of factories and industry. Concerns about food and farming place fifth on the list, behind air travel, waste disposal and energy production.

Those who do make food choices based on environmental concerns, such decisions are driven by the avoidance of plastic packing, followed by choosing seasonal foods and avoiding factory farmed foods.

Further research carried out by IGD, shows that 49 per cent feel it is the responsibility of retailers to only sell sustainable products, not just theirs to buy them. With 60 per cent saying retailers should not sell out-of-season products if they emit more greenhouse gases.

Global supply chains are also of concern to consumers, with 54 per cent saying they were concerned about the environmental impact of meat and dairy being imported from abroad.

AHDB’s Consumer Insight Analyst Rachel Rose said “Although consumers are presented with more information than ever before about the environmental impact and sustainability of different foods, purchase decisions are still motivated by taste, quality and price. Of which the pandemic has only amplified.

“However, those 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. AHDB’s We Eat Balanced social campaign focuses on farmer stories and I hope farmers will be encouraged by this research to share more of their stories with consumers.”

Rachels report can be found at https://ahdb.org.uk/news/consumer-insight-the-environmental-impact-of-farming-consumer-perception

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