Consumers are now far more conscious of the origin of fresh and processed meat they buy and willing to pay more for British labelled meat, according to new research by Professor Iain Fraser in the School of Economics.
The shift has, in part, come as a result of the 2013 horse meat scandal when it was discovered that numerous beef products were found to contain horse meat, some of which had been declared unfit for human consumption.
Research by Professor Fraser, and Dr Mohamud Hussein from Agribusiness Solutions Hub, uncovered that because of this incident UK consumers now place a higher value on meats products with an origin label from Britain and are willing to pay around £2/kg more than for meat with no country of origin information.
Beef products in particular have seen the biggest rise in consumers valuing country of origin labels given it was beef products that were found to have been affected by horse meat contamination.
Responding to this change in buyers’ behaviours, the researchers found that food retailers have voluntary increased the amount of origin labelling they provide on products to keep consumers informed. As such, mandatory food labelling requirements appear unnecessary, at least for the short term.
The findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural Economics.