Tristram Stuart: ‘Offal needs to be marketed to UK consumers’

Food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart is calling for a major offal marketing drive aimed at British consumers to revitalise UK consumption figures.

Speaking at the Fifth Quarter Conference in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, the author of ‘Waste - uncovering the global food scandal’ told delegates that offal could be a great income provider for the meat industry and that money had to be invested in it to market it to consumers.

Stuart said: “I do believe that there is a great deal of opportunity to stimulate the demand for these products in the UK, to increase the economic incentive for using these products and basically to encourage consumers to eat them. And I think that the fact that the British public shun these edible and delicious parts of animals is part of what I call the wider global food waste scandal.”

“And I think the meat industry really can use this as an opportunity to, in the case of offal, market it as an environmentally attractive product. It is a way of reducing the overall impact of livestock production, if used more it you will reduce the environmental impact per kg of food and I think that works particularly well if you can find local markets for it so that you don’t have to go to foreign markets.”

“It’s only 30 years ago that offal consumption as a proportion of total meat consumption in the UK, and actually in the US, was twice what it is now. So it has halved in 30 years despite the recent slight increase in offal consumption just in the last few years. It’s still massive decline over 30 years.”

“You only need to go over the Channel to find a culture that celebrates tripe and also these other parts of animals.”

“The Chinese eat less that half of the meat per capita than do Americans but they still eat three times as much offal as them.”

“If you look at the French they eat 100 kilos of meat per person per year and at the same time they will eat nine kilos of offal. If you look at the Brits, we eat a little bit more meat as a proportion of meat consumption, we eat two thirds less offal than the French and the American eat 90% less offal than the French.”

“This is something that we used to celebrate in this country, this was a traditional part of our cultural cuisine.”

“One pig’s head will be my lunch for two weeks and yet we are incinerating pig’s heads. Some butchers in my area are actually paying to incinerate pig’s heads and it’s food, good food, it’s delicious food. Now I don’t expect British customers to suddenly become, from having addicted themselves to ready meals to become the kind of householder who will be happy to spend four hours boiling a pig’s head on their stove, but I do think through a combination of marketing, of using the cultural tools that we have - primarily television, television chefs - I don’t see why brawn can be marketed more on supermarket shelves or blood pudding. Now is the moment to strike, now is the moment to invest in creating the market for these products.”

>>Global Outlook - Fifth Quarter by Jean Pierre Garnier

>>Morrisons trial larger offal range


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