Are Chinese Consumers Willing to Pay for Animal Welfare?
Animal advocates all over the world are keeping an eye on China. As vegetarianism or veganism trend in parts of North America and Europe, a growing and increasingly affluent population in China is consuming ever more meat, and intensive agriculture is fast developing to feed the growing demand. Furthermore, though the majority of food purchasing still takes places in traditional wet markets around the country, increasingly more consumers are buying their foodstuffs from big supermarkets, as in the West.
In this context, a study of Chinese consumers finds a level of concern for animal welfare. In addition, the consumers were willing to pay for assurances that their food products have been produced with animal welfare in mind. Researchers note that even though the valuation of animal welfare is “significantly lower than that of the other quality attributes [like green/organic attributes, for example], retailers can start to capitalize on this trend by seeking products raised under specific production practices.” The researchers assert that concern for animal welfare is expected to increase over the coming years, and that more extensive research, “especially among wealthier urban residents,” will be important to understand this demographic shift.