Perspectives of German animal welfare meat on export markets
Animal husbandry is increasingly criticized in Germany and voices become louder to adjust legal requirements for animal husbandry in order to improve farm animal welfare. Higher legal requirements for animal welfare would imply higher production costs with the consequence of loss of international competitiveness of German meat producers.
Background and Objective
The aim of this project is to analyse opportunities for German meat exports produced under significantly improved animal husbandry conditions and thus under increased production costs. Third countries’ consumer preferences for imported meat ‘made in Germany’ produced under higher animal welfare standards will be assessed. Additionally, it will be estimated if consumers in the destination countries are willing to pay price premiums for this kind of meat. The project will also investigate to what extent there is already a market differentiation in the importing countries with regard to husbandry standards or whether new market segments might be developed. The project focuses on pork and poultry meat, as the discussions about improved animal welfare in Germany are mainly on these products. The study will not only cover pork and poultry meat, but will also explicitly address pig by-products, which are highly valued in the countries surveyed. These are: Intra-EU-destinations Poland, Italy, Netherlands, France, UK and Denmark as well as Extra-EU-destinations Japan and South Korea.
In order to adequately analyse market potentials of animal welfare meat in selected export destinations, the project is divided into four work packages. First, the current state of knowledge will be summarized by a sound literature review. The second step consists in conducting semi-structured expert interviews to provide an overview of the meat market in the respective countries which also help to give a first indication of consumer expectations. The planned semi-structured form of interviews offers the interviewee the necessary freedom to address country- and market-specific aspects that seem important in the different countries covered in this project. The main body of the research is consumer research which is divided into two steps and consumer attitudes, preferences and willingness to pay will be analysed. The consumer research follows a mixed method approach combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. For the present case a quantitative online survey is based on qualitative focus group discussions as a pilot study. The consumers' point of view is investigated in an explorative way using guideline structured focus group discussions. The guidelines will cover findings from the literature and the expert interviews conducted prior to the group discussions. In focus group discussions results are due to the joint discussion about the topic in a dynamic process, which also reveals unexpected aspects. The results of the focus group discussions will be quantified by a quantitative online survey. One advantage of online surveys is that relatively large numbers of consumers can be asked within a relatively short time period at comparatively low costs.