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22 February 2013
Consumer trust in fresh, quality assured beef remains strong despite the horse meat scandal, new research shows.
According to a YouGov survey, around three-quarters of respondents said they would not change their eating habits when it comes to fresh beef cuts and mince.
However, when buying burgers, 80 per cent of people now believe where the meat comes from is important, compared to 73 per cent last month, while traceability in burgers is also important to 80 per cent of people, up from 72 per cent.
In addition, 82 per cent believe an assurance mark on burgers is important, compared to 78 per cent in January, and the importance of price when buying burgers has fallen.
“The regular research that we do to monitor what influences consumer choices and what those choices are has shown that confidence in fresh beef products remains strong, with 76 per cent of respondents saying they will eat the same amount of fresh beef, 71 per cent saying the same for fresh mince. Four per cent said they would eat more fresh beef and beef mince,” said Nick Allen, sector director for EBLEX, who commissioned the study.
“What we have seen is of those buying burgers, more want to know exactly where the product has come from and that it has a traceable, assured supply chain.
“There has understandably been huge media coverage of the issue of horse meat being found in certain processed meat products with complicated supply chains involving overseas suppliers. In those circumstances, messages on what is affected and what to buy can get confused.
“However, we have been working hard, along with other industry organisations, to push the message that shoppers can have confidence in fresh, assured red meat products, like those with the Red Tractor label or Quality Standard Mark, where the provenance and traceability are clear, and it does appear that the message is being heard.
“On the other side of the equation though, frozen beef products have understandably taken a hit.”
The February survey also showed that 14 per cent of respondents – double the number from the January results – will be shopping for beef products most often at butchers in the future, at the expense of supermarkets.
Sixty-nine per cent of people say they have less trust in retailers generally as a result of the horse meat scandal.