Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for the Dutch food consumer. They consider fairness, animal welfare, environmental friendliness and concepts such as transparency and natural/regional production more important than ever.
This year is clearly different from previous years, says Marleen Onwezen, researcher at Wageningen University & Research, who carried out the six-monthly Agrifood Monitor on behalf of the Agri & Food top sector.
“60% of people appears to find sustainability product features important when buying products. Think of quality marks for animal welfare, recyclable packaging or a vegetable product. When we asked whether consumers would be willing to pay more for sustainable products, 60% said they would.”
The Monitor also shows that appreciation for the Dutch Agri & Food sector continues to grow. An increase was seen for the first time in 2020, which stabilized in 2021. For example, the Dutch rate the agricultural sector as a whole higher than the pharmaceutical industry or energy companies. However, pig farming is assessed less positively.
The perception of current events also influences the assessment, such as due to farmer protests, the coronavirus and the nitrogen crisis. It turns out that negative emotions about the farmers' protests and the nitrogen crisis caused people to think more negatively about the sector.
Bread, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products are most often consumed. Meat and animal products such as dairy still predominate, while alternative proteins such as meat substitutes, seaweed, tofu, legumes and fish are consumed a lot less.
The Agrifood Monitor is a recurring survey that has been conducted twice a year since 2012 and annually since 2020 by Wageningen University & Research. A representative panel of more than 3000 Dutch people is asked for their opinion on the agricultural and food sector.