Today’s agriculture and food production has been topic in public discussions and the media in the last years. Societal perceptions and imaginations of agriculture seem to be far away from reality. There is no indication of a declining gap between consumers’ expectations and their perception of animal husbandry. However, precise information about expectations and priorities of the population are unknown. Thus, the paper concentrates on society’s views and opinions. On the example of intensive pig production, the objective of the study is to analyse societal perceptions, expectations and main points of criticism. It also aims on the identification and characterisation of societal groups with almost identical attitudes. By combining exploratory focus groups with a quantitative survey, a mixed method approach is pursued. Focus groups are carried out in September 2012 in three German cities to capture a variety of opinions and concerns among the population. On the basis of findings from focus groups a quantitative survey is carried out in spring 2013 per online survey with approximately 1500 German citizens to quantify qualitative results. The surveys’ findings confirmed many of the critical views gained in the focus groups. On the basis of four extracted attitudinal factors three groups with heterogeneous opinions are differentiated with respect to modern pig production. Besides a very engaged group which is characterised by a strong criticism in general and a strong critical perception of current production systems, also a considerable group accepting modern animal husbandry was identified. The multinomial logit regression finally allows for a characterisation of the identified societal segments by sociodemographic and regional aspects. Additionally, the question of responsibility and the acceptance of consequences of several governmental actions are included in the model. It turns out that gender and agricultural knowledge of the people are significant determinants in explaining cluster membership. Interestingly, opponents more often have a good knowledge of agriculture. These findings imply that negative attitudes cannot be traced back to a missing knowledge.