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Restaurants Falling Behind in Customer Trust of Meat

16 April 2015, at 10:01am

UK - A policy of sourcing more British meat and promoting the fact on-pack to customers means supermarkets are stealing a lead on restaurants and fast-food chains when it comes to gaining public trust, according to a new survey.

Nearly 70 per cent of shoppers trust the meat they buy in supermarkets either a lot or a fair amount, according to YouGov data released by BPEX. This compares with only 58 per cent trusting the meat they are served in restaurants and 17 per cent in fast-food outlets.

“Since Horsegate in 2013, supermarkets have worked hard to restore trust by sourcing more British meat and labelling the fact clearly—and their strategy is obviously working,” according to National Pig Association chairman Richard Lister.

“If foodservice companies want the public to trust them to a similar degree, the answer is staring them in the face. They should copy the retailers and serve British meat instead of imported meat from continental cold stores.”

Many foodservice outlets in Britain already have a British-only rule for the fresh pork they serve, but fail to inform their customers. “That’s crazy,” said NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies.

“All the evidence shows customers want British meat because they trust its provenance and its quality, and they are even prepared to pay a bit more for it, just as they do in supermarkets.

“So when restaurants and fast-food outlets make a point of sourcing British, they should always say so on their menus and in their advertising, and if they do, their customers will respond positively.”

NPA’s current Keep-It-Up! campaign applauds retailer loyalty to British pork, at a time when cheap continental pork has created a 30p-a-kilo gap between British and European Union prices.

NPA particularly commends the hundred-percenters—Aldi, Budgens, the Co-op, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, and Waitrose, who source only British fresh pork (Porkwatch survey, January 2015)—and is urging foodservice companies to do likewise.

Keep-It-Up! messaging explains the factors that make British pork special, including eating quality from internationally-acclaimed British genetics, high-welfare husbandry, independent auditing of British pig farms and whole-chain traceability.

A recent YouGov survey commissioned by NPA found over 80 per cent of shoppers want supermarkets to continue stocking high levels of British meat to maintain consumer confidence following the 2013 Horsegate outrage.

“By voting overwhelmingly for British pork on supermarket shelves, despite a glut of cheap pigmeat in continental cold stores, shoppers have delivered a huge fillip to Britain’s pig farmers and to retailers,” said NPA chairman Richard Lister, who farms in North Yorkshire.

“These results are good for consumers, retailers and producers—so everybody is winning."

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