Shocking numbers of young adults have no idea of the origins of basic foods, with fewer than half knowing that butter comes from dairy cows, according to a new study.
A quarter of 16 to 24-year-olds were so clueless that they could not even guess at how butter starts life – despite being presented with a range of pictures of animals and crops, including a dairy cow. One in ten thought butter did not come from any of the images shown, while seven per cent of the 2,000 surveyed guessed it came from wheat.
Yesterday, West Country farmers involved in education programmes said they were “disappointed, but not surprised” at the results, and many reported similar tales of ignorance. The survey was commissioned by Linking Environment and Farming, which is organising Open Farm Sunday this weekend.
The event will see 18 farms in Cornwall and 24 in Devon open gates to visitors, with events including guided walks and tractor rides to provide an insight into rural life.
Cornish farmer Caroline Drummond, chief executive of LEAF, said the research revealed how awareness had dropped. “Despite what they think, young adults are clearly becoming removed from where their food comes from. Three in ten adults born in the 1990s haven’t visited a farm in more than ten years, if at all, which is a real shame as our farmers not only play an important role in food production but are passionate about engaging and reconnecting consumers, too.”
LEAF’s research shows that four in ten adults born in the 1990s consider themselves knowledgeable about where food comes from.
But a third of 16 to 24-year-olds did not know where eggs originated, with one in ten believing they come from wheat or maize.
Only half identified that steak comes from beef cattle, with 12 per cent thinking it comes from a crop. More than a third also failed to connect pigs with bacon.
Chris Murray, owner of Pennywell Farm at Buckfastleigh in Devon, said he was “flabbergasted” by the findings.