Few consumers will pay for low carbon meat

Livestock farming has come under fire for its contribution to global warming, but relatively few consumers are prepared to pay extra for meat with a lower carbon footprint, a survey has found.

The AHDB/ YouGov survey of 2000 people found that half of consumers were “very concerned” about global warming and many wanted to ‘do their bit’, but just one in eight were prepared to pay more for low carbon meat.

Around 20% said they would reduce their meat consumption in order to help cut their carbon impact, while many more viewed actions such as recycling more or using energy saving light bulbs as being more important.

Buying local produce was often regarded as a way of shopping in a “climate friendly” way and most consumers did not want to see more imported meat even if it was better for the environment – just 12% said they would be happy to import more meat if it meant it would reduce domestic CO2 emissions.

The survey highlighted that many consumers currently have higher priorities when it comes to buying meat, such as animal welfare and country of origin.

“The impact of meat consumption on global warming is off the radar for most consumers and other considerations get in the way,” AHDB interim chief executive, Richard Lowe said.

“Most say they are willing to do their bit, but not really when it comes to making a personal or financial sacrifice.”

Full details of the AHDB survey will be released next week and it plans to repeat its survey every quarter in order to track changes on consumer attitudes and buying decisions.