YouGov discovers drop in meat consumption

Cautious spending by consumers has resulted in decreased meat consumption, according to a recent YouGov study.

According to the report, compared with last year, Britain now eats 17% less red meat and 11% less poultry. Of those who are eating less or attempting to cut back, 46% say this is because meat and poultry are now more expensive. A third (33%) say they cannot afford to buy as much meat and poultry as they did a year ago.

Consumer research at Kantar Worldpanel also found that although meat consumption may be down, there is a shift towards consumption of frozen and ready-to-cook meats, especially in poultry where they found consumers had switched 7.6m to buying frozen chicken.

YouGov UK research manager Tom Rees commented on the findings: Pressure on household food budgets has encouraged many to trade down in terms of price points or cuts in order to stretch household spending further. At the same time, there has been a rise in the proportion of consumers choosing to cook from scratch rather than buy meals outside the home or to choose more prepared foods such as ready meals.

The report found that value for money is crucial for those buying meat and poultry, and 72% of meat eaters said this was an important consideration. It was important for 64% consumers for meat to be of a high quality, and 59% said it must taste food, highlighting that although many families are cutting back when shopping, they still want to buy a quality product.

Last years horsemeat scandal was taken into consideration by YouGov, which asked consumers what effect this had on their behaviour. Just below half said it had had no effect on what they ate. Thirteen per cent said they stopped eating affected food only for the period of the scare, while 8% said they had not eaten the affected food since the news emerged.

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