A recent market study conducted by Altroconsumo, European Bureau of Consumer Unions And International consumer research and testing[ยน] published last February reveals an emerging trend: animal welfare is becoming an increasingly important factor in purchasing decisions Italians.

The survey highlights that 91% of respondents believe it is crucial that the animals are raised in dignified conditions and that the products available reflect these ethical values. This need for dignity and respect is intrinsically linked to consumers' desire to have transparency and accuracy of information on food productsessential elements for effective consumer protection.

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However, a clear expression of dissatisfaction also appears, with more than half of those surveyed reporting a feeling of dissatisfaction.insufficient supply of these products in storesa sign that industry and retail have not yet fully adapted their proposition to public expectations.

This paradigm shift reflects increasing attention to a range of issues closely linked to animal health and welfare, such as food quality and safety, environmental sustainability and ethical production. A related interest is synthetic meat, an innovation that could revolutionize the food sector by reducing reliance on intensive agriculture.

Regulatory disparities

Since the 1980s, Europe has started a process of raising awareness in favor of animal welfare, introduce environmental policies and regulations aimed at protecting animal life. The European Union, in particular, has one of the most advanced regulatory bodies in the world, covering every stage of the food supply chain: from farming to transport to slaughter.

The notion of animal welfare that these regulations aim to safeguard is vast and complex. This goes well beyond the simple absence of disease, as the World Organization for Animal Health specifies. In fact, it underlines the intrinsic right of animals to a life that fully respects their natural and instinctive needs. The vision involves the obligation to protect them from situations of deprivationsuch as lack of food and water, and to prevent any form of discomfort, both physical and emotional.

The need for transparency in labeling

Although the European regulatory framework is at the forefront in promoting animal welfare, some critical issues persist, particularly regarding product labeling. Current laws, although created to guide consumers towards informed and informed choices, sometimes generate more confusion than clarity.

In fact, there is a lack of consistency in the evaluation criteria animal welfare, this creates confusion among consumers and unfair competition between producers. In addition, labels often include indications of national origin, which encourages consumers to turn to local products and prevents the inclusion of foreign operators in labeling programs, due to geographic and logistical difficulties.

Towards sustainable, market-conscious change

The growing attention to animal welfare is beginning to significantly influence the market and legislation. Consumers, exercising their purchasing power, encourage companies to improve their agricultural practices and comply with voluntary certifications that ensure high standards animal welfare.

This commitment is part of a broader movement towards global sustainabilitywhere animal health, ecosystem and human well-being are closely linked. The challenges are not rare, but the path taken is clear: consumers are demanding transparency and consistency and companies respond by adapting their business model to an ethic of responsibility and sustainability.

Sources:

[1] The investigation by Altroconsumo, Beuc and ICRT

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