Home cooking driving UK meat sales, but country of origin unimportant for most shoppers

Consumers have returned to comforting food staples, including meat and dairy, during the Covid-19 crisis as they cook more home meals, according to an AHDB report by consumer insight manager Susie Stannard.

However, the industry’s push for people to buy British is currently impacting less than a quarter of shoppers, with only 22 per cent saying they would purchase home-grown options if they were more expensive than alternatives, according to IGD.

The number of people eating more meat has doubled from seven per cent to 14 per cent since February, while dairy has seen those increasing consumption leap from five per cent to 12 per cent over the same period, according to the research commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and carried out by YouGov.

Recent figures from AHDB showed an increase in households buying red meat, from 67 per cent in April 2019 to 71 per cent in April 2020, but the research also showed 48 per cent of shoppers are more price conscious or have allocated their shopping budgets differently, with many shoppers putting lower prices over country of origin.

Author of the AHDB report, Susie Stannard, Consumer Insight Manager, said: “There is much positivity in how consumers feel about farming, and a growing acknowledgement of the important role that meat and dairy play in the British diet. 

“However, in the face of an impending recession, factors such as provenance, environment and welfare temporarily take a back seat to price and availability. 

“Much valuable work has already been done but it is important that the industry continues to make demonstrable progress in areas such as welfare and the environment, alongside the very clear immediate focus on how best to continue to deliver safe, affordable and sustainable food.”

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