Concerns about food safety, the environment and farm animal welfare are prompting increasing numbers of consumers to seek out ethically produced food, including meat, dairy and eggs from humanely raised animals, even if it means paying more. A new survey from San Francisco-based Context Marketing shows that almost 70 percent of American food shoppers are willing to pay more for food that is safe, humane and environmentally sound. Education, consumer advocacy and lifting the veil from the practices of industrialized agriculture are transforming shopping habits. Despite industry efforts, concern for farm animal welfare is gaining significant strength. The study finds that the importance of animals being humanely raised is exceeded only by food safety concerns, and animal welfare scores well above “natural” and “organically produced.” Consumers who have grown up more aware of how food is produced are intensifying the demand for meat, dairy and eggs from humanely raised animals: Forty-four percent of shoppers aged 20 to 34 always look for cage-free eggs.
On Sunday, I attended the Just Food:CSA in NYC conference and I was impressed with the great turnout. The Meat and Egg Share workshops connected NYC CSAs with pasture-based farmers in the NYC region. The panelists and attendees discussed the logistics of getting the products from their farms to the various NYC CSAs – from the best refrigerated truck delivery service for the farmers to use down to how much product each CSA member could reasonably contain in their small NYC refrigerators. I had already been talking or emailing with many of the farmers at the conference and was so glad to be able to put faces to their voices and names. It was also great to put a face and voice to the blogging/emailing voice of Kerry Trueman from Eating Liberally. Thanks for stopping by the table Kerry.
Thanks also to everyone who signed up for our listserv. I’m so glad Just Food set up our table next to the wine tasting from Martha Clara Vineyard. It certainly made for a steady flow of attendees at the Animal Welfare Approved table. And to all of the farmers I met at the conference, I hope we’ll be in touch soon.