Consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and the conditions under which the animals are raised. Kansas State University associate professor and livestock marketing specialist Glynn Tonsor says consumers indicate they also would pay more for meat and eggs from animals raised under known production conditions. The comments were made in a recent interview with Agri-Talk Radio host Mike Adams.

At issue is proposed labeling on meat and eggs describing the production techniques in which the animals were raised. Tonsor cites results from a study that examined consumers’ attitudes on pork and egg products. Tonsor and Michigan State University professor Christopher Wolf collected the data in 2008.

The study indicates that 62 percent of consumers say they would support mandatory labeling that tells whether gestation stalls were used in the production of pork, or if laying hen cages were used in production of the eggs. Tonsor says that support level quickly diminishes in the case of rising prices. “However, 44 percent reverse their support… when pork or egg prices increase.”

If mandatory labeling information revealed whether or not gestation crates or laying hen cages were used, consumers would be willing to pay up to 20 percent more for the products. However, Tonsor and Wolf say that the 20 percent figure overestimates what consumers would actually pay.

Tonsor says there is a disconnect among consumers between wanting the labeling and paying extra for the products. A recent agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers will lead to further discussion on the issue, according to Tonsor. “These discussions are just getting started. I think the topic is here to stay.”

Read more about the study.