Butchers claim top place in consumer trust survey

Britain’s consumers have given their meat-buying backing to both independent butchers and the importance of quality assurance schemes in relation to their shopping habits.

According to the results of a new BPEX survey concerning shoppers’ trust in meat suppliers, 92% of respondents said they trusted independent butchers either a lot or a fair amount. Supermarkets were second with 69%, followed by restaurants on 58%. School meals (34%), staff canteens (25%) and fast food outlets (17%) took the lower places.

Carried out by YouGov – which questioned 1,970 UK adults who buy meat in early February 2015 – the survey is part of a BPEX campaign to improve understanding of the factors which drive consumer trust in meat.

Researchers also looked at the role quality assurance schemes and provenance play in consumer trust, finding that 66% of meat buyers “agreed it was important they know where the meat they buy comes from”. 

Assurance schemes such as Red Tractor and Freedom Foods gained a 60% vote of confidence while 50% of those questioned said they were prepared to pay a little more for meat produced under food assurance schemes.

“It is perhaps no surprise that high street butchers are the most trusted given the personal relationship they have with customers,” said BPEX director Mick Sloyan.

“Perhaps a more interesting question is why the level of trust in multiple retailers is significantly higher than other outlets, particularly in the food service sector. The answer could lie in the widespread use of on-pack labelling of quality assurance and country of origin, as the survey suggested these are elements consumers really value. 

“Since the horsemeat scandal many leading retailers have also made commitments to shorten and simplify supply chains. This could well be paying dividends now.”

Although it’s the first time BPEX has carried out this particular survey and comparitive figures aren’t available, the results do appear to be far more optimistic than those published last week by the National Office of Animal Health (Noah).

In a survey of 1,007 consumers carried out by IGD ShopperVista in August 2014, it was found that if asked who they would trust to inform them about food safety, only 6% of respondents mentioned their independent butcher first – down from 12% when similar research was carried out in 2012.

4% of shoppers mentioned supermarkets first, an increase of 2% since 2012.

Click here for more on the Noah research

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