Better Beef at the Supermarket: Should Animal Welfare Standards Be Marketed to the Consumer?
Young, Morgan A
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Discoveries and standards concerning animal welfare have proven successful for beef producers from European countries. However, the United States has not yet had an animal welfare program marketed to the consumer. There are many programs within the U.S. that promote proper animal care. One of these programs is the Beef Quality Assurance program that is offered by the U.S. Beef Check-Off. The Beef Quality Assurance program sets standards for care for beef raised in the U.S. This raises the question of whether or not the program would be viable in the consumer market to receive a premium. This research describes animal welfare standards set in Europe, branding of products currently in the U.S. that receive premiums, and consumer preference and purchase behaviors. A survey was conducted that captured the U.S. consumer perceived importance of animal welfare standards modeled by the Beef Quality Assurance guidelines, as well as, willingness-to-pay. The project found there is a broad market for beef that comes from a Beef Quality Assurance Certified facility. This market is heavily determined by demographics as well as certain guidelines of the program that the consumer finds important in their purchasing decision. The results also indicated that if the Beef Quality Assurance Certified Beef were marketed the consumer, consumers would be willing to pay a premium.