In many countries consumers have shown an increasing interest to the way in which food products are being produced. This study investigates Chinese consumers’ attitudes towards different pig production systems by means of a conjoint analysis. While there has been a range of studies on Western consumers’ attitudes to various forms of food production, little is known about the level of Chinese consumers’ attitudes. A cross-sectional survey was carried out with 472 participants in 6 Chinese cities. Results indicate that Chinese consumers prefer industrial pig production systems, where traditional pig breeds are raised, over large-scale and small family farms. Farms with maximum attention to food safety, which furthermore can provide lean meat with consistent quality, are also preferred. Imported pig breeds and tasty but variable meat were rejected. A 3-cluster solution found that consumers from cluster 1 focus almost exclusively on the food safety aspect (food safety focused). Consumers from cluster 2 (indifferent) show weak overall attitudes to pig production systems in general. Cluster 3 (industrial production oriented) stands out by being very positive about industrial, large-size farms and consistent quality. From a Chinese consumer’s perspective, the industrial approach seems to represent values such as achievement and evolution, as well as quality and safety, since pig production is moving away from low-cost, low-quality, and low-safety family-scale systems. A complex set of rural and environmental development, quality aspects, and food safety measures are challenges that must be met by the stakeholders of pig production systems in China.
Agriculture and Human Values, 2013, Vol 30, Issue 3, p. 443-455