BRITISH shoppers still trust fresh, quality-assured British beef, and around three- quarters say they will not change their eating habits because of the horse meat scandal.
The statistics, which refer to fresh beef and mince, come from a poll by YouGov, which also found that 80% now believe that knowing where the meat comes from is important when buying burgers, up from 73%.
Plus, 82% now believe an assurance mark on burgers is important, compared with 78% last month. The majority also told the Eblex-commissioned study that price was less of an issue now when buying burgers.
Nick Allen, Eblex sector director, said: “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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the National Beef Association (NBA) called for a rapid change in the supermarkets’ approach to food buying and food pricing. NBA national director, Chris Mallon, said: “They adopted a bullying culture aimed exclusively at securing as much farm food as possible for as little cost as possible, and the result is tortured supply chains that add so much unnecessary cost that short cuts on quality and traceability, and even cheating by some suppliers, was inevitable.
“These misguided tactics have to be quickly reversed if further collapse in consumer confidence in the UK’s food supply chains is to be avoided.
“This can only be done if a real and permanent effort is made to correct decades of misapplied endeavour and a new approach to food purchasing is adopted.”
“The multiples must start by focusing as much buying as possible on the high-quality, high-provenance, food grown on nearby British farms.
“If they do this they can secure both current and future supplies of essential products as long as they also make sure that all participants in the supply chain adequately cover their costs.”