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‘Pushing the health benefits of red meat’ could increase consumer purchases

26 Jan 2018
A new study has found that Brits would be more open to buying beef, lamb and dairy products if “a brighter spotlight was shone on their health benefits.”

Carried out by AHDB, the research looked at consumer buying behaviour and how aware they are of the health messaging around red meat and dairy - revealing that “health has different meaning for different people.” For older people, it is “generally associated with a balanced diet” whereas younger age groups relate it to different lifestyle factors, such as exercise and methods of food preparation.

Steven Evans, AHDB consumer insight manager, explained: “There is an increasing interest from consumers towards learning more about the health benefits of including red meat and dairy products in their diets. Many consumers claimed they would be likely to increase their consumption of beef, lamb and dairy following exposure to the health messages they saw, but this is higher among those who already buy the products.

“This indicates that positive health messages could be a good way of promoting these products and convincing people to buy into these categories. People want to know how to gain the health benefits. Knowing how much of something should be eaten to gain a health benefit is something people would like to know and be guided on.”

As a result, the research found:

  • More younger consumers (18-44) would like to eat a healthier diet than older consumers (45+) 68% vs. 55%
  • 39% of younger consumers limit their red meat consumption for health reasons compared to 33% of older consumers
  • 34% of 18-44 year olds limit dairy consumption for health reasons compared to 25% of over 45’s
  • 51% of younger consumers buy red meat alternatives – only 31% of older consumers do
  • 53% of young buy dairy alternatives compared to 32% of older consumers

AHDB also said it believes “behaviours at the moment of purchase can be influenced with appropriate and effective nutritional communication” which, if marketed properly, could increase consumption of beef (50%), lamb (48%) and dairy (51%) for half of consumers.

Strategy director for beef and lamb at AHDB, Laura Ryan, said: “AHDB has been working tirelessly for the promotion of the health benefits of red meat. Not least with the publication of three guides - one for beef, one for lamb and one for pork - telling health professionals, retailers and producers exactly what nutritional claims can be made about red meat.

“AHDB can, in this way, help consumers understand why the consumption of lean beef as part of a healthy balanced diet can legitimately be promoted as making a positive contribution to the diet and health. For example, beef is naturally rich in protein, low in sodium and provides eight vitamins and minerals that contribute towards good health and wellbeing.”

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