A new Bord Bia survey has revealed that 23% of consumers will pay a premium for grass-fed beef.
The survey also found that 60% of trade buyers around the globe say that Ireland is a source of sustainably produced food and drink, while 75% of those buyers say sustainability is important to their business.
The survey, launched on 2 September, also found that 73% of grocery shoppers are willing to change their lifestyle to become more sustainable and at the forefront of consumers’ minds when it comes to sustainability is food waste.
Sixty-one percent of consumers said it will be more important to purchase sustainable food in the next three years.
Consumers of beef and dairy products place animal welfare standards high on their list of importance when it comes to sustainability, along with grass-fed products, both of which result in a premium being paid for the products.
Grass-fed was seen as “natural and more humane” by those surveyed, as 23% of respondents said they are willing to pay a premium for grass-fed beef.
Bord Bia stated that, globally, grass-fed is the biggest premium-driver among the sustainability attributes of beef.
Retailers are focused on reducing emissions and getting their suppliers to reduce emissions.
The research stated that “having the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions/carbon footprint” was important to two-thirds of trade buyers globally.
Sustainability is becoming more and more important when choosing suppliers. However, when it comes to consumers, they are less focused on emissions because they find it difficult to link the carbon footprint to the product on the shelf.
Biodiversity is not something that most consumers consider when deciding on what product to buy according to the survey.
However, both the carbon footprint and biodiversity are set to become more important into the future, as consumers become more aware of these topics.
High-quality food and food safety remain important when purchasing products and quality assurance is important to consumers.
The research found that the focus on sustainability by consumers differed across countries
It is essential to note that the research found that the focus on sustainability by consumers differed across countries. Respondents to this research spanned across 13 different countries, including Ireland.
Western Europeans were focused on locally produced food and animal welfare, while consumers in Asian markets looked out for a consistent, nutritious food supply that they know is of high quality and is safe.
Ireland's 'strong advantage'
Speaking about the survey, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy stated: “In many areas of sustainability, Ireland already has a strong competitive advantage, for example grass-fed production of beef and dairy.
"In others, such as food waste, this research gives us the opportunity to highlight to our members how that is a key touchstone for consumers in certain key markets and the value of meeting these expectations.
“The best way of encouraging action is to demonstrate how it contributes to the long-term sustainability of the business. This research makes the clear case for businesses to engage in measurable action across a range of sustainability issues.”
From the research gathered Bord Bia has stated that producers can stand out if they communicate in a clear way.
Using food waste as an example, the organisation said that producers need to demonstrate how food waste is avoided in production and what consumers can do to avoid food waste.