Organic survey asks if consumers understand organic

In a survey called, “Do you understand organic?” the Andechser Molkerei Scheitz dairy has asked 3,201 German consumers about their attitudes and views about the organic topic.
The results of the survey show that the most important thing about organic production for the asked consumers is animal welfare (53%). In second place is the ban on genetic engineering (48%), the third being the ban on artificial fertilisers (47%). Around 36% believe it is about focussing on the careful use of natural resources, 21% focus on feed, followed by biodiversity and species protection (20%).

Approximately 18% answered fair payment to the farmer, 10% focused on soil fertility, 6% mentioned the use of cultivated varieties and lastly another 6% focused on recycling.

“We must continue to illustrate how comprehensive the positive effects of organic agriculture are and how important this type of management is in preserving our nature and environment for future generations. It is the only correct answer to the challenges of the 21st century,” says Barbara Scheitz, managing director of Andechser Molkerei Scheitz.

When asked which organic criteria influence the purchase decision, three statements stood out in particular: 77% said high quality and natural ingredients are the most important, with a fair price at 66%.

The study also demonstrated consumers’ desire for more information. About 80% of respondents would like more information on the living conditions of farm animals, 69% on farm certification and 66% on the price structures of organic food.

The quality of the products and the animal welfare were the most important, with almost 80% of consumers saying that was the most important decision criteria for buying, followed by resource-saving production (74%), regional production (72%) and the ecological commitment of the enterprise (72%).

However, 60% of the respondents believe that organic products should be cheaper – only 33% consider the price-performance ratio to be appropriate.
“For us this means that we have to communicate even more clearly than before: not only what added value organic products offer compared to conventional products, but also what extra effort is required in the entire value chain for organic farmers and organic processors – from the ground up to the packaged product,” Scheitz notes.

The fact that many consumers are not aware of what “organic” means at all is evident from the study. An estimated 53% of respondents did not know that every organic seal already contained the ban on glyphosate. Also, only 49% knew that organic foods contain more natural nutrients, which is evidence of the great ignorance that still exists.

At least 60%-71% see organic products as a more sustainable alternative. This means that there is still a clear potential for raising awareness about the positive effects of organic agriculture, as a third of the respondents thus far have not considered organic production to be more sustainable than conventional production.

“This study provides a good foundation to better understand consumers’ needs. In the results we see our corporate philosophy confirmed. However, we also recognize that as an organic pioneer, we have a special duty to raise awareness of the benefits of organic and the positive effects of organic farming. Because we are all dependent on the future environmental situation – everything is connected to one another,” says Scheitz.

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