The animal welfare provenance of food - communicating and engaging with consumers: a review of the evidence and interventions

Start date:
November 2011
April 2012

A rapid review of the evidence on existing interventions to engage with consumers on the animal welfare provenance of food and other related issues

Background & Aims

In 2010 Brook Lyndhurst was commissioned by Defra to explore whether the implementation of animal welfare labelling was likely to improve consumer uptake of higher animal welfare products. For details of this project, click here.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to carry out further research on this fascinating topic. In this project we aimed to identify and critically analyse existing evidence on interventions designed to communicate with consumers about animal welfare and other related issues, in order to identify the characteristics of interventions that are likely to effectively engage consumers on animal welfare.

We explored the following questions:

• What are the attributes of interventions that have been successfully used to communicate and engage with different types of consumers on animal welfare and other similar issues?

• How can consumers be engaged on animal welfare issues by ‘tapping’ into other purchase motivations?

• Are certain interventions more effective than others in communicating with consumers with different levels of interest in animal welfare and/or other similar issues?

• What are the conflicts and synergies between communications and engagement on animal welfare provenance and other sustainability issues?


The methodology employed involves a rapid evidence assessment to synthesise existing evidence on consumer engagement and the cost-effectiveness of various approaches. We will be reviewing both academic and grey literature. While our focus was on animal welfare communications, we also looked to draw out lessons from communications focused on other product attributes, for example sustainability issues, ethical considerations, health, quality and taste. Synergies between animal welfare and these other issues was a particular focus of our work, both in terms of where transferable lessons may be learned and where there is scope for joined-up communications.

We complemented the evidence review by interviewing a selection of key organisations, in order to gain additional insights into on-the-ground experiences of organisations running communication campaigns to engage consumers, as well as to identify further literature on the topic.

Our final report draws together key insights to assist Defra with their ongoing work in the communication of animal welfare information to consumers.

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