Farmscape for November 23, 2017
An Agricultural Economist with the University of Alberta says there's an increasing level of dissatisfaction among consumers with their knowledge of what goes into producing food.
Dr. Ellen Goddard, the Cooperative Chair of Agricultural Marketing and Business with the University of Alberta, told those on hand last week for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2017 in Saskatoon the average consumer knows less about the food they consume than they would like so they're constantly looking for information.
Clip-Dr. Ellen Goddard-University of Alberta:
I'm interested in the fact that, in some parts of my research, if I ask them how good animal husbandry is on the farm, for example for pigs, about a third of my respondents in a national survey of two thousand people will say I don't know and I think that makes them feel nervous.
I think the reason they feel nervous about not knowing where as 20 years ago the same kind of exercise would probably have not generated that sense of unease is because of the outrage and shock value they feel with some stories that come through the mainstream media that they hear about.
These could be a shocking story of how a certain dairy incident may have happened in a dairy barn where cows may have been mistreated or something about pigs being mistreated and then they feel "oh dear, and I don't know if that happens all the time and that makes me uncomfortable."
So I think there is a desire to know.
They also feel they would like to know more about the kinds of things that are being fed to animals, the reasons that things are happening on the farm that they may or may not know about.
If you can give them a good reason and show that you're taking care of your animals then they feel so much better but if they can't get access to that information then they're a bit uncomfortable.
Dr. Goddard says, by engaging with consumers, farmers have an opportunity to build awareness and gain trust.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork