Here’s something that’ll contradict everything you’ve ever heard about China. Chinese consumers place greater importance on food sourcing and animal welfare than UK consumers, according to a New Zealand study released yesterday. CCTV reports:
Research by Lincoln University found 58 percent of Chinese and 55 percent of Indian respondents rated environmental quality as important when buying food, compared with just 29 percent in New Zealand’s traditional export market of Britain.
They also found 42 percent of Chinese and 50 percent of Indians rated animal welfare as very important compared with 34 percent of British respondents.
“As income grows, consumer behavior changes. Product attributes other than price start to play a greater role in consumer decision- making,” Professor of Trade and Environmental Economics Caroline Saunders said in a statement.
Less surprisingly, the research found that 75 percent of Chinese and 65 percent of Indian respondents rated food safety certification as very important among a range of New Zealand product attributes, compared with just 41 percent of British respondents.
It also showed Chinese consumers were willing to pay 74 percent more than the normal price for dairy products with food safety certification,
This could point to the fact that unlike their Chinese counterpart, the British food inspection system is relatively reliable, so Uk customers aren’t as used to worrying about food safety – ie. if UK citizens had to deal with scandals like gutter oil, they might stress over food safety certifications as much as the Chinese.
The animal welfare statistic is a bit harder to swallow when you consider the Chinese demand for animal products that are either unsustainable or involve some kind of cruelty.
The UK, on the other hand, is known for its extremely strict animal welfare laws and fervent animal rights activism (even if it can be a bit Hezbollah-esque).