Improving market success of animal welfare programs through key stakeholder involvement: Heading towards responsible innovation?
Despite frequent public criticism of modern husbandry practices, many animal welfare programs lack acceptance among both farmers and consumers. We contend that this lock-in originates from a lack of market orientation and consequential neglect of key stakeholders’ preferences in program design. Considering the case of a retailer-owned meat brand, we demonstrate the relevance of stakeholders’ inclusion when establishing animal welfare programs for pigs. Surveys among 62 farming members of a pig trading cooperative and 692 supermarket customers reveal the heterogeneity of beliefs and acceptance within both groups. While a Responsible Innovation approach, including key actors from the initial criteria selection, could be effective for raising acceptance, it would likely lead to lengthy time-to-market, prohibiting first-mover advantages. We suggest instead that beliefs and acceptance among farmers may be influenced through a communication strategy based on survey results and experimental research, as well as facilitating positive word-of-mouth.... [Show full abstract]