A structural equation model of the factors influencing British consumers' behaviour toward animal welfare
Results of national and pan-European consumer surveys and the growth in the demand for so-called “animal-friendly” food products suggest that consumers within the European Union (EU) show a high level of concern for the welfare of farm animals. This article analyses the determinants of British consumers' behaviour toward animal welfare using structural equation models (SEM) with observed and latent variables. SEM is a statistical technique for testing and estimating relationships amongst variables, using a combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions. A data set collected in 2005 through face-to-face interviews of 654 consumers in England is employed. Based on a review of the existing literature on consumers' behaviour toward animal welfare, the article tests and estimates a number of a priori determinants of behaviour, i.e., factors influencing stated purchases of free-range and organic chicken meat. The models have an adequate overall fit to the data. The statistical tests for the model on free-range chicken meat purchasing behaviour show socioeconomic group, education, attitudes toward animal welfare, reasons for buying chicken meat, access to information on animal welfare issues, number of children, and price as significant determinants. With one exception (i.e., reasons for buying chicken meat) all the aforementioned determinants were also found significant in the model on organic chicken meat purchasing behaviour.
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Journal of Food Products Marketing