The research, conducted by the National Chicken Council (NCC), polled consumers on the production of chicken products and found environmental knowledge to be lacking.
According to survey results, only half of survey participants (51%) were moderately knowledgeable about chicken’s impact on the environment, while three-quarters (71%) were moderately knowledgeable about how chicken is produced. It found that while most are familiar with topics related to animal welfare and processing; knowledge related to sustainability topics in the industry like water usage (20%), greenhouse gas emissions (21%) and water impact (19%) is limited.
The survey also found there were “misconceptions abound” surrounding the effects of chicken production on key environmental issues like pollution, water quality and transportation. Consumers surveyed believe these issues have a high environmental cost, but their knowledge and understanding of these issues is low.
In particular, water issues were seen as having high environmental impact, but consumers are less knowledgeable about them while water impact/water contamination (74%) and water usage (69%) are seen as high environmental costs, but current knowledge on both is low at 34% and 36%, respectively.
Greenhouse gas emissions and shipping were seen as having moderate environmental impact, but most consumers also have significantly less knowledge than average about these practices for chicken production.
When polled about factors driving purchase decisions, consumers rated the environmental impact of chicken (34%) as important as animal welfare (37%). Taste (82%) and price (65%) continue to be the top two drivers of purchase decisions.
“As sustainability in agriculture continues to be a hot topic among US shoppers, benchmarking perceptions and attitudes related to broiler chicken production and its impact on the environment is key to helping the industry better communicate with consumers,” said Tom Super, spokesperson for the NCC. “Based on what we hear, we can deliver accurate information to consumers and influencers in ways that will help them better understand industry-wide welfare and environmental standards that are core to the American-raised chicken they buy and eat.”