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Sustainable Agriculture –
Farmers and
Society in Dialogue

Addressing Challenges Together | Latest Research Findings

How can German agriculture remain sustainable amidst environmental demands and economic pressure? What tasks should it fulfill in the future? And how do farmers and consumers relate to specific political objectives in this context?

These and other questions will be explored in the coming period with stakeholders, and our findings will be published here. The latest research results are presented at the beginning of this article. 

You can start our journey here.
February 29, 2024

Future Challenge: Competitiveness of German Agriculture - Shared Goals, Divergent Opinions

The question of how to strengthen the competitiveness of domestic agriculture is politically contested and depends on the desired objectives. Our latest findings reveal groundbreaking insights from farmers and consumers regarding the future challenges of agriculture and the desired legislative framework:
Consumers and farmers agree that domestic agriculture should ensure the secure supply of regional, healthy, plant-based foods. The significance of animal food production is evaluated differently. Disagreements also exist regarding legal regulations: while both groups agree that the requirements for food producers in Germany are higher, consumers do not support farmers' demand for adaptation to international standards. Quality and environmental protection are increasingly important aspects for consumers in the discussion on food production. Thus, our results highlight the significant political challenges in finding a path acceptable to both consumers and farmers. At the same time, they confirm the potential for products and services in the agricultural industry that enable farmers to achieve profitable production while adhering to high quality and environmental standards.

Our detailed results, presented below, are based on interviews with approximately 500 consumers and 200 resp. 100 farmers in Germany. Initially, we asked both groups about the importance of specific tasks in agriculture.

Consumers and farmers agree that among the most important future tasks of agriculture in Germany is providing the population with regional, healthy plant-based foods and ensuring food security. However, there is disagreement about the importance of animal foods, with farmers assigning higher priority than consumers.

In our research, we often encounter statements from farmers and consumers that domestically produced foods in Germany are generally more expensive than those from abroad. Many consumers believe this is due to stricter laws rather than income differences. Additionally, many feel that German-made foods have higher quality.

Here, a significant disagreement between consumers and farmers in Germany is evident: farmers demand from policymakers, in addition to reducing bureaucracy, an adjustment to international standards in food production. The majority of consumers, however, find the existing German rules for fertilization, pest control, and animal welfare to be acceptable or even too lax. Only a few see the rules as too stringent.
So, how can laws be adjusted to consider both societal standards and the needs of farmers? A suggestion from policymakers is the introduction of a "livestock welfare levy." However, both farmers and consumers react skeptically. Consumers would buy fewer animal products if prices rise, and the majority of farmers do not believe this would enhance the competitiveness of German agriculture.

Thus, creating laws to promote the competitiveness of German agriculture remains a political challenge, ensuring broad support.
The current results also confirm earlier research: consumers place great importance on the production of plant-based foods in Germany and recognize, alongside disadvantages, the benefits of plant protection products for farmers and consumers.
However, many people are skeptical about conventional pesticides due to concerns about residues. When shopping, they partially rely on packaging information and trust familiar seals, brands, or manufacturers.

For manufacturers of products and services in crop cultivation, these insights once again emphasize the importance of continuous development of products and services, including digital technologies or Biologicals. These can assist farmers in operating profitably while maintaining high quality and environmental standards. Research and development are crucial to improving functionality, effectiveness, and user-friendliness. Targeted communication is also essential for strong brand building. Examining specific areas of development and improvement in these areas is our core business. Contact us if you have research needs!
January 24, 2024

Basis for collective solutions: Consumers express understanding

Modern agriculture is confronted with formidable challenges. German farmers are expected to quickly and efficiently change their working methods to make our society more environmentally and climate friendly. At the same time, they must continue to produce high-quality food at affordable prices to remain internationally competitive.

While there are initial approaches for the future, such as digitalization in agriculture and the development of biologicals, the pressure on farmers is immense. Many feel caught between ever-changing political demands and the necessity to produce economically in the long term, as evidenced by the ongoing nationwide farmer protests.

Building a bridge between the expectations of society and consumers on one hand and the needs of farmers on the other seems more crucial than ever. As market researchers, we see our task in engaging with various interest groups to discuss the goals and conditions of agriculture in Germany. We aim to explore common interests and differences, facilitating the identification of targeted solutions based on this foundation.

Initially, we conducted a representative survey of over 500 consumers regarding the protests. The farmer protests are highly present in the population, with their underlying reasons being a significant societal concern. Furthermore, we surveyed n = 200 farmers. The acceptance of the protests among farmers is, as expected, even higher than among consumers. Their assessment of the probability of success aligns surprisingly well with that of the consumers.

The farmer protests are highly present in the population, with their underlying reasons being a significant societal concern.


Almost all respondents could spontaneously mention at least one goal that farmers aim to achieve with the protests. Both the current issue of subsidy cuts or tax increases and the general dissatisfaction of farmers with their current situation are cited by consumers as reasons.

However, the expectation that the farmers' demands will be met is somewhat restrained.

Still, it is evident that farmers' demands resonate well with society.

A path to concrete solutions involves discussing the tasks that agriculture should fulfill in the future and the measures required for that. More on this soon at this location...

February 8, 2024

Agricultural Transformation: Significant Challenges for All Stakeholders

Recent farmer protests have thrust major agricultural issues into the spotlight of politics and media. The question of the best future strategy for the agricultural industry has been looming, even prior to these protests.

We conducted surveys with 500 consumers and 200 farmers to explore the primary protest demands. The results reveal notable similarities between both groups, such as demands for the protection of regional agriculture and the withdrawal of planned tax increases. However, significant differences in perception and attitude emerge regarding demands for easing fertilization, pest control, animal husbandry, and protection against 'cheap imports'. The findings underscore the importance of political measures and highlight the relevance of products and services that assist farmers in achieving economic success under current conditions.

Many consumers are familiar with and support key demands of farmers, demonstrating a general sympathy for their concerns. Consensus prevails on the triggers for the protests, with the repeal of announced diesel and vehicle tax hikes universally perceived as the main objectives. Farmers and consumers also share a concern for the protection of regional agriculture.

However, divergences between consumers and farmers become evident in their perceptions of protest goals, particularly regarding demands for easing fertilization, pest control, and animal husbandry, which are crucial for farmers but seldom cited as protest targets by consumers.

Consumers consider demands for easing fertilization, pest control, and animal husbandry less justified, yet they support political calls to strengthen the protection of German farmers against international competition and the vested interests of trade.
On the other hand, when it comes to the demand for protection against 'cheap imports', consumers express openness to such regulations, while many farmers remain skeptical about the actual acceptance of such measures.

"Possibly, consumer responses reflect their fundamental political stance, whereas farmers assess the current purchasing behavior of many consumers. Often, the cheaper food option is chosen, even if it doesn't come from a local farmer."

Grischa Muchowski - Senior Research Consultant Produkt + Markt
For demands where farmers anticipate broader societal support, they also see the greatest likelihood of success. Apart from decisions on tax hikes, this applies to conditions that protect German farmers without affecting consumers' wallets or international trade agreements, such as origin labeling.
The results demonstrate an acceptance and agreement with many farmer demands, indicating a fundamental appreciation from consumers towards domestic agriculture and a willingness to improve the situation for farmers.

Simultaneously, the results clearly highlight associated political tasks, including defining and funding environmental and animal welfare standards and ensuring fair compensation for farmers. The protests have played a crucial role in bringing these important issues to the political agenda.

Regardless of political tasks, the results emphasize the importance of products and services that enable farmers to operate profitably while adhering to high-quality, environmental, and animal welfare standards. We currently observe promising developments in the market, such as digital technologies and Biologicals. However, perceived benefits and ultimately the acceptance of these products by farmers are still improvable.

These acceptance considerations are playing an increasingly important role in our everyday research. We are happy to develop specific solution strategies with you, so give us a call!

February 14, 2024


Facts about the participation in the protests

Contact us with your questions, wishes, and ideas!

Would you like to have a personal conversation with us on the topic of "Sustainable Agriculture – Farmers and Society in Dialogue"? Then let's coordinate a suitable appointment for a one-on-one discussion. We look forward to hearing from you and are excited about our exchange.
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