How can we optimise red meat labelling? New study explores consumer preferences

How can we optimise red meat labelling? New study explores consumer preferences

Research undertaken by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in collaboration with Basis Research looks at how producers and retailers can optimise red-meat packaging and labelling to improve shopper purchase intent for red meat and improve long-term perceptions of the industry.

While spend has increased over the last few years, volumes of red meat purchased have declined year-on-year since peaking in 2020. AHDB has previously undertaken analysis of shopper data, which has shown that there is a need to re-engage shoppers with the red meat category, both in store and online.

AHDB’s new research revealed that there are clear consumer preferences of what should be included on pack, regardless of the protein or cut. These could be split into three main categories:

Inspiration was the biggest driver of purchase intent. Shoppers were drawn to images of tasty, well-presented dishes; therefore, having strong foodie imagery on pack is essential. In the case of pork medallions, pork loins and beef steaks, more than half of shoppers selected the labels with foodie imagery as their favourite (64%, 57% and 56% respectively).  Consumers also found that having information on cooking times gave them more confidence – particularly for less familiar cuts such as lamb.

One consumer involved in the research said: “I find the photograph appealing, and if I were feeling indecisive about what to cook, the photo would inspire further food shopping.”

Health and provenance information was liked by shoppers, particularly messaging around fat, vitamin and mineral content. Highlighting British origin, farming methods such as grass-fed or free-range as well as any assurance schemes are also favoured. 73% of those involved in the study and interested in health said that ‘lean and low in fat’ messaging would encourage them to make a purchase, while only 35% said that ‘regeneratively farmed’ would push them to buy.

Grace Randall, Retail and Consumer Insight Manager at AHDB, said: “It’s so important that retailers and producers understand the needs, desires and drives of their consumers.

“It’s clear from this research that shoppers want to feel confident in the quality of their meat, which comes from taste, health benefits and production methods. By helping them to feel informed and inspired we can help drive their red meat purchases.

“AHDB want to showcase the optimised label concepts created in this study and we encourage producers and retailers within the industry to initiate change and to reach out to AHDB for further support.” To read the full AHDB meat labelling research report visit:

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