A recent YouGov consumer omnibus survey carried out on behalf of dairy processor First Milk has shown that three-quarters (76%) of consumers are concerned about climate change, and almost one-third (29%) take environmental factors into account when they choose food. The online survey questioned 2,161 adults in the UK in March 2021.

The survey revealed that 76% of UK adults who responded to the survey were concerned about climate change in general; 29% of those surveyed said they considered the impact on the environment when they bought food, around one third believed that farming and the production of dairy foods significantly contributed to climate change; nearly half of UK adults who responded thought rearing animals for meat consumption significantly contributed to climate change and 37% of UK adults thought food waste significantly contributed to climate change.

When they were questioned about dairy consumption, 94% of respondents said they purchased dairy products for themselves or others, although this figure declined to 78% among18 to 24-year-olds. The purchase of dairy products was highest in Northern Ireland (98%) and lowest in London (86%). More than three-quarters of UK adults surveyed would prefer to buy milk and dairy products guaranteed to come from cows that have access to pasture or the outdoors (78%), with almost two-thirds (63%) saying they were concerned about the welfare of dairy cows in the UK.

Commenting on the results, Mark Brooking, sustainability director at First Milk, said: “This survey reinforces that UK consumers are concerned about climate change, with many taking environmental factors into consideration when choosing food. It also highlights the level of interest UK consumers have in animal welfare and dairy production systems.

“We know that the UK farming sector takes its responsibilities seriously and has a good track record in terms of animal welfare, with a growing focus on environmental responsibility, especially around climate change. But we all share the responsibility for communicating to consumers about the great work going on across the farming sector and highlighting the importance of the many initiatives that underline the positive benefits of UK farming and food.”