Concerns around trustworthy information on food labels were raised at the 111th AVI Africa poultry conference this week at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the conference, André Westerveld, Elanco SASSA regional director, said that in a study of 3337 urban consumers in 11 countries across Europe, the USA and South America, it was found that 96% of respondents were interested in where their food was sourced and grown.
Older respondents searched the internet for information about their food, while younger respondents read labels.
“Both groups took what they read as the truth,” Westerveld said.
Labels featuring words such as ‘free range’, ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ did not provide specific definitions of the words, and claims made on the product labels were rarely backed by scientific research, he added.
This made consumers susceptible to misinterpreting concepts such as ‘organic’.
According to the study, about 65% of respondents saw organic food as more nutritious and healthier than ‘normal’ food, without defining what ‘normal’ meant. They also thought ‘organic’ food was free from pesticides.
Despite these gaps in knowledge and misunderstandings, “about 85% of consumers saw ‘organic’ food as the only answer to feed a growing population”.
“As a rule organic farming produced 25% less yield than modern farming practices, and used more land, feed and water for the same amount of crop or animal protein produced,” Westerveld said.
Labels with ‘antibiotic free’ and ‘hormone free’ meat were particularly concerning as sick animals had to be treated, and producers could not neglect animal welfare.
Many products, such as soya milk, contained 1 000 times more the amount of certain hormones than meat products did, Westerveld said.
The study showed that the average consumer knew very little of how food was produced and the sustainability challenges farmers faced, and according to Westerveld: “These disconnects provide opportunities for consumer to be exploited.”
Paris’ flagship farming project is nearing completion, with the city preparing to become home to one of the world’s largest…
A farm can only produce according to its potential and what’s invested in it, says Roelof Bezuidenhout.
These aggressive insects can cause painful stings in humans and horses. Dr Mac provides some useful tips on treating your…
It has been estimated that as much as 1 000ha of farmland near the town of Alma in Limpopo have…
While the traceability of retail items in the consumer goods industry has been in place for some time, the industry…
Livestock owners are being urged to vaccinate livestock proactively against vector-borne diseases such as Rift Valley fever (RVF), rather than…