Survey: 83% of Filipino consumers want food firms to use only cage-free eggs

Survey: 83% of Filipino consumers want food firms to use only cage-free eggs
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A NEW national consumer survey carried out by leading APAC consumer research agency GMO Research has found that a large majority of Filipino consumers want food companies -- including restaurants, retailers and packaged foods brands -- to source their eggs from farms that use cage-free production methods.

Tokyo-based GMO Research is one of the world’s 10 largest consumer research agencies, with 55 million online consumer panelists across 16 APAC countries and markets.

The survey, which randomly polled hundreds of respondents from across the Philippines, reflects the evolving attitudes of customers in seeking higher animal welfare and sustainability standards from the food brands they patronize.

The nationwide survey found that 83 percent of consumers believe eggs sourced by restaurants, supermarkets, packaged foods companies and similar should come only from hens living in cage-free environments. Eighty percent said they were more inclined to patronize a food brand that sourced only cage-free eggs.

The survey also found a notable willingness to pay a price premium for the shift to cage-free eggs. Eighty-nine percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “the advantages of cage-free eggs in terms of food safety and quality are worth spending a little extra money on.”

Seventy-six percent of consumers were willing to pay 10-25 percent more for cage-free eggs in supermarkets, and 74 percent were willing to spend 5-10 percent more for a restaurant meal or packaged food product that used cage-free eggs.

Over the past several years an increasing number of major food brands in the Philippines, including Jollibee, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Ascott, MetroMart, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp and Robinsons Hotels & Resorts, among others, have committed to sourcing only cage-free eggs in the coming years in response to evolving customer values.

“These new survey findings underscore how important it is for food companies to prioritize animal welfare and other ethical sourcing practices in their operations,” said Robyn Del Rosario, Sustainability Program manager at Lever Foundation, an NGO that supports companies in the Philippines and across Asia on sustainable sourcing.

“As consumer awareness and demand for improvements like cage-free eggs continue to rise, businesses can seize the opportunity to enhance their brand reputation by aligning their sourcing standards with consumers’ expectations,” Del Rosario added.

Concern for animal welfare appears to play an important part in consumer attitudes on the issue. The survey found that 95 percent of consumers agreed with the statement “hens that produce eggs should not be kept in cages; they should have the freedom to walk and move around.”

Ninety-nine percent believed that food companies should source both eggs and meat from a supply chain that adheres to humane standards of animal treatment. Concern for animal welfare wasn’t the only motivating factor though, with 31 percent of respondents citing the safety of cage-free eggs as a valuable advantage.

Cage-free egg production, in which hens are given the freedom to move in open indoor environments, improves animal welfare and significantly lowers food safety risks compared to caged egg production.

Authority found battery cage egg farms have up to 25 times higher rates of contamination by key salmonella strains compared to cage-free eggs, leading the EFSA to issue a recommendation for a complete ban on caged egg production across Europe.

For individual consumers, the best way to protect egg-laying hens is by reducing or eliminating egg consumption. (PR)

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