Consumer trust in fresh beef is holding up well despite the horsemeat scandal, according to new research.

EBLEX’s regular monthly YouGov survey shows around three-quarters of respondents said they would not change their eating habits regarding fresh beef cuts and mince in the home.

Butchers look set to gain from changes in consumers’ beef shopping habits, with double the number (14%) planning to shop for beef products most often at butchers.

The research asked 2,016 consumers in mid-February about their meat eating plans over the next four weeks compared with the previous four-week period.

Fresh beef cuts – consumer plans

  • 76% will eat about the same amount
  • 6% will eat more beef
  • 9% will eat less beef
  • 2% don’t knows
  • 6% of those questioned do not eat fresh beef in the home

Fresh beef mince – consumer plans

  • 71% will eat about the same amount
  • 5% will eat more
  • 13% plan to eat less
  • 9% of those questioned do not eat fresh mince in the home

Provenance has become more important to consumers buying burgers, with 80% of people believing where the meat comes from is important compared to 73% last month. Traceability in burgers is also important to 80% of people, up from 72%.

The importance of price when buying burgers has fallen and 82% believed an assurance mark on burgers was important, compared to 78% in January.

“There has understandably been huge media coverage of the issue of horsemeat being found in certain processed meat products with complicated supply chains involving overseas suppliers,” said Nick Allen, sector director for EBLEX, who commissioned the study.

“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, frozen beef products have understandably taken a hit.”

Some 69% of people say they have less trust in retailers generally as a result of the horsemeat scandal.

More on this topic

Horsemeat scandal timeline

Have your say on the FW forums