Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Survey examines consumer understanding of environmental impact of chicken production

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DETROIT — The National Chicken Council, as part of its commitment to transparency, has unveiled the findings of its new nationwide survey about how deeply consumers understand sustainable food practices as it relates to broiler chicken production, an industry that maintains one of the lowest environmental footprints in animal agriculture. NCC announced the new survey as the Sustainable Brands ’19 Conference in Detroit.

According to survey results, knowledge of the environmental impact of chicken among consumers is low. Only half of survey participants (51 percent) are moderately knowledgeable about chicken’s impact on the environment, while three-quarters (71 percent) are moderately knowledgeable about how chicken is produced. While most are familiar with topics related to animal welfare and processing, knowledge related to sustainability topics in the industry like water usage (20 percent), greenhouse gas emissions (21 percent) and water impact (19 percent) is limited.

In addition, when it comes to factors driving purchase decisions today, the environmental impact of chicken (34 percent) is as important as animal welfare (37 percent). Of note, taste (82 percent) and price (65 percent) continue to be the top two drivers of purchase decisions.

Environmental impacts

Misconceptions abound surrounding the effects of chicken production on key environmental issues like pollution, water quality and transportation. Consumers surveyed believe these issues have a high environmental cost, but their knowledge and understanding of these issues is low.

  • Water issues are seen as having high environmental impact, but consumers are less knowledgeable about them.
  • Water impact/water contamination (74 percent) and water usage (69 percent) are seen as high environmental costs, but current knowledge on both is low at 34 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and shipping are seen as having moderate environmental impact, but most consumers also have significantly less knowledge than average about these practices for chicken production.

Sustainability video

In conjunction with the sustainability survey, NCC also created a video, offering consumers, foodservice experts and others a look into chicken farmers and their various sustainability practices. The newly released video is available online at

“As sustainability in agriculture continues to be a hot topic among U.S. shoppers, benchmarking perceptions and attitudes related to broiler chicken production and its impact on the environment is key to helping the industry better communicate with consumers,” said Tom Super, spokesperson for the National Chicken Council. “Based on what we hear, we can deliver accurate information to consumers and influencers in ways that will help them better understand industry-wide welfare and environmental standards that are core to the American-raised chicken they buy and eat.”

NCC has resources to help break through to audiences, including Chicken Check In, frequently asked questions, virtual reality (VR) video series and more. An overview of NCC’s survey findings are available at

The survey was conducted online on Jan. 14-23 among 1,000 general population Americans aged 18-64 years old who eat chicken (margin of error +/- 3.1 percent) and 500 Food eVangelists* (margin of error +/-4.4 percent). Food eVangelists are defined as Americans who are particularly influential about food-related topics.

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