Strategies for positioning animal welfare as personally relevant

Lenka van Riemsdijk*, Paul T.M. Ingenbleek, Marleen Houthuijs, Hans C.M. van Trijp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Next to organic food products, an assortment of ethical products is emerging in the supermarket that targets the large market segment of consumers that are open for ethical product choices but do not restrict themselves to them. The purpose of this paper is to examine the positioning strategies that marketers use to persuade consumers in this segment to buy animal-friendly products (AFPs). Design/methodology/approach: The authors approach product positioning from a consumption values perspective from which they examine strategies that make animal welfare (AW) personally relevant to the buyer because they reinforce AW with suitable consumption value (functional, emotional, social, sensory, epistemic and/or ethical). Using data from 129 AFPs from a Dutch supermarket, the authors explore the positioning strategies of these products. Findings: The results identified four different strategies used to position AFPs in a Dutch supermarket. They respectively call upon consumers’ emotions, functional or sensory perceptions, curiosity and sense of public welfare. The findings also show substantial category differences, with fresh products relying predominantly on emotional value and processed food on functional value. Originality/value: This study is the first to empirically explore positioning strategies of AFPs on the basis of their consumption values. The study offers a novel perspective to understand how companies try to extend the market for AFPs, thus providing a basis for a new research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2062-2075
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Animal welfare
  • Consumers
  • FMCG
  • Marketing
  • Positioning strategies


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