Survey on Public Opinion in Europe regarding contentious inputs-a report

| Type artikkel: Rapport
This report provides results from an on-line survey in seven European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK). The main aim of the survey has been to gain more knowledge aboutconsumer concerns of contentious inputs in organic agriculture which align withan overall aim of the Organic-PLUS project to involvecitizens in the process of designing phase-out scenarios and the policy discussion on the development of the organic and sustainable farming sector in Europe.

Forfattere:

Gunnar Vittersø, Hanne Torjusen, Christian Bernhard Holth Thorjussen, Alexander Schjøll og Unni Kjærnes

År:

2019

Finansiert av:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No [774340]

The data material consists of more than15,000 respondents evenly distributedonthe participating countries. Besides questions about phasing out of contentious inputs the questionnaire covered issues related to consumption and purchases of food with emphasis on organic food. Thesurvey also contained questions about use and recognition of organic food labels and issues of trust in different food system actors. In the analyses we have put most emphasis on comparison between the participating countries. The countries represent in all a total of 70 % of all EUinhabitants.However, based on previous European studies, there are great variations in food culture and food governance across Europe, thus, a genericEuropean food consumer does not exist. For thisreason it is more fruitful to discuss food consumption in relation to thenational variations in food culture, trust in food and food system governance. Regarding the phasing out of contentious inputs we especially wanted to focus on the frequent organic consumers, anticipating that they might have different and stronger opinions about the phasing out of contentious inputs than consumers in general.Previous research has especially pointed to that there exists a north-south division in Europe when it comesto how consumers relate to food issues. First, there are important differences in the food provisioning system in Europe with a highly concentrated food retail sector in Northern Europe,meaning that consumers mainly provide their food in Hyper-and supermarkets controlled by a few large retail chains. Thistendency in retail concentration is present in southern and eastern European countries as well, however, here consumers to a greater extent also provide their food from more traditional food markets and independent food outlets. There are also differences in the extent to which people eat their meals outside of home or not. This division isalsotrue for the consciousness about quality of food, where consumers in southern European countries often have a greater knowledge and awareness related to the quality of food and food production, while NorthernEuropean consumers tend to be more aware of ethical issues (fair trade and animal welfare). Northern Europeanconsumers also have a greater trust in the food system than in the south where issues of food safety are more pertinent.In line with previous research, the report shows that there are great variations in how people in different parts of Europe relate to food and agriculture, and especially organicfood. We find differences in modes of food provisioning both regarding ordinary and organic food shopping, differences in organic food consumption, use of food labels as well as differencesin trust in food between countries. We believe these differences also impact on knowledge and awareness of issues such as use of contentious inputs in organic agriculture.Especially we find that frequent organic consumers place high importance on phasing out contentious inputs, they want stricter regulations and are also more willing to pay for organic products that are produced without the use of contentious inputs.

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