Animal welfare is a priority for today’s caring consumer

By Hayley Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food Local food Mintel Jamie oliver

New research has found that animal welfare is Britain's number one food concern, with as many as four in 10 (40%) consumers worried about the issue, according to Mintel.

Females showed the greatest concern, with almost half (46%) of British women expressing concern about this issue, compared with a third (34%) of men.

Meanwhile, being of British origin (37%) and free-from additives or preservatives (36%) make up the remaining top three food concerns, closely followed by the desire to have locally produced food (35%). By contrast, organic is important to just one in 10 (11%) of Britons today.

"Recent media coverage has helped drive awareness of animal welfare, with celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall putting the spotlight on poultry and pork farming in recent years and it seems the appeal of free-range and domestic food has continued to grow even during the recession," said Kiti Soininen, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.

"Food provenance the origin of what we eat has also forged a permanent place on the consumer and media food agendas. Various food scares, the focus on 'food miles' as part of ethical consumption and a wider trend for authenticity and premiumisation are a driving interest in food provenance."

Two in five people buy British to support local business (40%), but only one in five (19%) see it as worth paying more for, while a similar number (17%) say that British food tastes better.

Almost half (48%) of the population claims to buy local food when possible and a similar number (45%) would like to see more local food at their supermarket. However, just one in seven (13%) people say they actively seek out local food.

"As with many other food issues from fair trade to animal welfare, consumers are in favour of doing the 'right' thing."

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