The danish animal welfare label (source: Foedevarestyrelsen)

Growing awareness among Danes of the government-backed animal welfare label (Photo: Foedevarestyrelsen)

Growing awareness among Danes of the government-backed animal welfare label

Many Danish consumers have discovered the new government-backed animal welfare label. Widespread familiarity can help to raise welfare standards, says Denmark’s Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen, who would like to see similar labels on more products.

Some 50 per cent of all Danes have heard about or are familiar with the government-backed animal welfare label – which exceeds the target that was set at last year’s launch.  

When the first products carrying the animal welfare label appeared in May 2017, the aim was for 40 per cent of consumers to have become aware of the label by the end of 2018.  

A survey carried out by YouGov for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration designed to establish awareness, knowledge and confidence in the label shows that awareness stands at 49%.  

Read: One, two or three hearts for Danish consumers 

Thus it has only taken seven months for the label to significantly exceed the target.  

Another target was that 60 per cent of consumers should have confidence in the label. The survey shows that 67 per cent have confidence in it.  

“The Danes welcome the new animal welfare label and I’m pleased that consumers are helping to raise animal welfare standards by making an informed choice. Many people are already familiar with the label and have confidence in it. Consequently, I would like to see more products covered by the scheme. Consumers should be given the opportunity to raise welfare standards for a number of species when they make their choices at the supermarket. It shows farmers that there is a demand for such products,” says Esben Lunde Larsen. 

The survey shows that 77 per cent of Danes are concerned about animal welfare and that the majority are willing to pay a premium to ensure that animals have been bred within a high welfare framework. A majority are willing to pay more for most meat products and milk.

Currently, the scheme only covers pork: the number of hearts on the label denoting the standard of welfare.

Chicken on the way
Plans are being made to launch a similar scheme for chicken in 2018.  

“Just before Christmas, welfare labels were applied to cooked meat containing pork and the next step will be similar labels for chicken. The plan is for this to be introduced into supermarkets during the year,” says Esben Lunde Larsen.  

In the survey, the animal welfare label was compared to other labels.  

The most well-known are those that have been on the market longest ”Anbefalet af Dyrenes Beskyttelse” (Recommended by Animal Protection Denmark) and ”Ø-mærket” (organic label) which have been in use for 26 and 29 years respectively.