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UK meat sales could suffer from allowing in lower standard imports

AHDB found there could be a knock-on effect if the UK allows imports of chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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UK meat sales could suffer from allowing in lower standard imports

Allowing in imports of products such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef in post-Brexit trade deals could cause consumers to lose confidence in all meat.

 

New AHDB research showed more than half of the 1,000 people surveyed by YouGov would buy less chicken and beef if a deal was struck allowing these imports onto supermarket shelves.

 

Demand

 

Although the practices are not currently allowed in chicken and beef production in EU Member States, the research shows the introduction of these imported products could reduce demand for domestic meat.


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For chicken just 28 per cent of respondents said there would be no change to the amount they buy and 28 per cent for beef.

 

And only 19 per cent claim it would have no impact on the way they shop.

 

83 per cent of those surveyed said they would pay more attention to labelling, while 81 per cent would be concerned about quality and look more closely at the product. More than three quarters of shoppers would also look more closely at production methods.

 

But separate AHDB research by Future Thinking shows while people claim provenance, quality assurance marks and welfare standards are important to them, what influences them at point of purchase was with ease, taste and price the key drivers in store.

 

Confidence

 

David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight said: “There is an argument that given clear labelling these products would offer consumers more choice but our research shows there is a distinct gap between what consumers say is important to them and what influences their purchase at the fixture.

 

“In addition, more than half of shoppers are unclear what current assurance marks actually mean. There is a danger that rather than try to fathom the labels, shoppers may lose confidence in the whole category.

 

“Also there’s the added complication that if we did import these products, domestically produced meat would likely be at a disadvantage on price.

 

“As a key driver of shopper behaviour, there may be calls for these practices to be introduced in the UK to allow farmers to compete on a level playing field.”

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