Monday, 17 October 2011

Cash-strapped shoppers want a bargain but also have values

I was surprised and pleased to learn that, despite difficult financial times, almost half of shoppers still say that the welfare of animals is extremely or very important when it comes to choosing their groceries.

The future also looks positive, with nearly a third of shoppers saying they expect to purchase more free range and high animal welfare products in the year ahead*.

The figures should be higher, of course, but it is an encouraging figure; although people want a bargain, many are also maintaining their values.

This trend is clearly having an effect on businesses, an increasing number of whom are trying to improve on animal welfare.

I recently helped out at the RSPCA Good Business Awards ceremony, where companies who are already going the extra mile for animals were recognised for their efforts. It’s great to see that some companies are recognising their responsibilities and responding to what consumers want.

The winning companies were clearly very pleased to be recognised by the RSPCA, and will hopefully be encouraged to do even more.

You can find out more about ‘good business’ by watching this film (click on the image below of Farmer Brown in his tractor)  which was shown for the first time at the awards ceremony.

Also, take a look at RSPCA Freedom Food’s new Hettie the Hen animation about welfare-friendly shopping (click on the image at the end of this post)!

The winners of the RSPCA Good Business Awards 2011  are……

For the third year running, Co-operative won the most public votes in the People’s Choice award, plus the award for Most Progress. Marks & Spencer received an award for Sustained Excellence, and Sainsbury’s picked up the prize for Excellence in Consumer Communications for its promotion of higher welfare food.

Riverford Organic (farms in Devon, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire, delivers around the UK) won the Independent Retailer award, while Daylesford Farmshop (Kingham, Gloucestershire) and Edge and Son (New Ferry, Wirral) were highly commended.

Lussmans Fish and Grill Restaurants (St Albans, Hertford, and Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire) won the Independent Restaurant award, while Due South (Brighton) was highly commended.

The Feathers Inn (Hedley on the Hill, Northumberland) won the Pubs category for its commitment to animal welfare, including a food festival and expansion into catering. This is the second time they have won this award. Catering company Eco Cuisine was highly commended.

Both large and small fashion companies are also working hard to improve animal welfare.

High street favourite George at Asda was presented with the Large Company award for its work on traceability, while Beyond Skin scooped the Small Company award for producing desirable, ethical high fashion footwear at an achievable price.

Rapanui was given the Innovation award for its use of QR codes (a type of bar code) on product labels. Customers can scan the tag using a smart phone to view interactive information about the origins of the raw materials in the garment. The judges described the idea as ‘game changing’.

The Best Newcomer award was won by The North Circular and Frank and Faith were highly commended in the Small Company category.

*Source: IGD

Helen Coen, senior RSPCA press officer

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