The Times

Food & Dining

Australians love eggs and trust egg farmers

  • Written by Rowan McMonnies

New research conducted by Voconiq, a research company spun out of CSIRO, reveals that levels of trust and acceptance of the egg industry by Australians has increased significantly since 2018, whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to highlight the importance of eggs in Australian lives.

The research, commissioned by Australian Eggs, engaged 5,920 Australians and is the fourth annual cycle of community engagement that explores the Australian public’s attitudes and opinions towards the egg industry, and informs Australian Eggs’ annual Sustainability Framework Report and research and development programs and investments.

Dr Kieren Moffat, Voconiq CEO, said “Community trust in the Australian egg industry has increased significantly each year we have undertaken this survey, with overall trust across multiple measures improving from 53 per cent in 2018 to 63 per cent in 2021, with 65% of Australians specifically expressing trust in the egg industry to act responsibly. This has led to a corresponding increase in community acceptance of the industry from 64 per cent in 2018 to 80 per cent in 2021.”

“It is challenging to build trust in a crisis and this data reveals that the strong relationship that the egg industry has established with the Australian public is helping it weather this pandemic storm better than many other industries.”

The development and implementation of technology is one of the more tangible ways the egg industry has demonstrated responsiveness to the concerns of the Australian community, and this in turn contributes to higher trust and acceptance. With 8 in 10 (80%) believing that technology has improved the welfare and environmental outcomes of egg farms, Australians are highly supportive of the use of technology and research and development in the egg industry.

Rowan McMonnies, Managing Director of Australian Eggs, said “The Australian egg industry should be very proud of this increased trust and their hard work in recent years to innovate through technology. It’s great to see that close to 9 in 10 (88%) Australians support egg farming after weighing up the benefits and costs of the industry, which is up 5% from 2020, showing that during the pandemic the net industry benefits increasingly outweigh its costs.”

“This shows that although egg production is complex, Australians believe that it is a good and modest use of environmental resources with egg farms having a relatively low carbon footprint, eggs are an important source of human nutrition and are affordable, and that the industry creates jobs for Australians and contributes to the national economy.”

The research also found that 76 per cent of Australians agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic made them appreciate the effort farmers went to in producing our food, and a further 70 per cent agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic made them understand their dependence on safe, reliable egg supply, with 87 per cent seeing egg production as an essential service.

“It’s no surprise that during challenging times that we tend to trust what we know and seek solace in having a reliable supply of foods like eggs. We appreciate that Australians are feeling grateful for farmers who put food on our table,” said Mr McMonnies.

“Whilst the industry takes a lot of positives out of this research, it’s important that we use these findings to continue to push our farmers to be even better and see where we can continue to improve in understanding and exceeding community expectations.”

“Though we are seeing positive sentiment in general across environmental questions, with 83 per cent of respondents saying that they believe egg farming is a ‘good use of land’, up 10% from 2018, environmental sustainability is the most important area for our industry to consolidate and improve our relationship with the Australian community.”

According to the research, 70 per cent of Australians see eggs as a more sustainable choice now than they used to, while 79 per cent agree that the egg industry maintains higher standards of hen welfare than it used to.

“The Australian egg industry is proactive in working to discover ways to better operate from a sustainability and environmentally-conscious point of view, continually investing in new technology to improve welfare and environmental outcomes. We intend to showcase again how responsive we are to taking the public’s feedback on board over the coming year,” concludes Mr McMonnies.

For more information and to read the full report here.

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