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Agroforestry in the UK: exploring consumer knowledge and interest

Robert Cole (Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Heli Gittins (School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Norman Dandy (School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 19 February 2024

Issue publication date: 9 April 2024

94

Abstract

Purpose

This paper's purpose is to explore the current interest and knowledge that UK consumers hold around agroforestry. Despite the many reported benefits of agroforestry systems, uptake in the UK, as well as other temperate nations, has been low. As the consumer has a role to play in the transition of agriculture to methods that are more environmentally friendly it is vital to have an understanding of their perceptions. Yet to date no work has looked at agroforestry from the perspective of the UK consumer.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was conducted using a convenience sample accessed by floating a link through social media and messaging apps. The survey was also shared to the members of a private Facebook group associated with an organic vegetable box service. A mix of multiple choice and open text boxes were used. The survey received 139 responses.

Findings

Non-parametric tests indicate that this sample of UK consumers would be mostly likely to buy, and willing to pay more for, agroforestry produce; and the sample showed a split group regarding familiarity. Inductive thematic analysis of the qualitative data highlighted some important barriers to the purchase as well as capturing a snapshot of this sample's perceptions.

Originality/value

This paper presents, to the authors knowledge, the first set of data regarding a sample of UK consumers' perspective of agroforestry produce. The findings could bolster producers' confidence in adopting agroforestry practices, but also highlight the need for policymakers to bolster consumer support through parallel means.

Keywords

Citation

Cole, R., Gittins, H. and Dandy, N. (2024), "Agroforestry in the UK: exploring consumer knowledge and interest", British Food Journal, Vol. 126 No. 5, pp. 2187-2203. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-03-2023-0255

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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