Consumers’ Willingness to Purchase High Animal-welfare Beef Products in Japan: Exploratory Research based on the Theory of Planned Behavior

Takuya Washio, Takumi Ohashi, Miki Saijo

Abstract

Agricultural industry needs to face both increasing demand from a growing population and transform in order to enhance its sustainability. Animal welfare, an aspect of this transformation, is still an unfamiliar concept for consumers in Japan, although this is expected to catch up with the global trend. Researchers have been working around the world to explore consumer behavior in markets, but few such studies have been performed in Japan. This study aimed to explore consumer behavior concerning high animal-welfare products in Japan, using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). An online questionnaire was used to identify consumer characteristics and perceived attributes of high animal-welfare products among 620 consumers. We found that awareness of animal welfare was still low among Japanese consumers, and was not related to demographic characteristics. Two components out of three which are considered in TPB, attitude and social norm, were likely related to consumers’ willingness to purchase high animal-welfare products. Consumers’ empathy with, and psychological responses to, farmers and animals are suggested to be related to their willingness to purchase.

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