Customers confused by mixed country of origin displays

UK - Food retailers who mix and mingle packages of meat from several countries of origin are working against the wishes of their customers and making it more difficult for them to buy the product they prefer.
calendar icon 2 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

This is the National Beef Association's interpretation of a recent NOP survey for the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) which confirmed that 59 per cent of consumers want to see fresh meat displayed according to country of origin in clearly marked shelf space.

“Supermarkets are always saying that they must listen to their customers but the majority are prepared to turn their back to the very clear messages that are coming through on mixed country of origin selling techniques, explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.

“Customers want to see home produced and imported beef kept well separate but the response from many multiples is to insist on keeping, and even refining, their mingled displays.”

“The NBA is not surprised by the results of the NOP survey. It has always been aware of strong consumer resistance to the presentation of products from mixed countries of origin and so it is amazed at the strength of continued supermarket opposition to the introduction of more informative, and less confusing, display policies .”

“It is strange that companies which say the customer is always right are prepared to ignore them when it comes to revising display policy and installing systems in which British, Irish, Brazilian and Argentine beef is no longer mixed in heaps or shelf edge signs pass on equally contradictory messages.”

“It seems to us that consumers, who wish to select on the basis of provenance and integrity, as well as price, are being prevented from clearly indicating which country's beef they prefer - and then of course there are customers who simply pick up the wrong packet and do not realize they have made a mistake until they have got home.”

“In addition to this mixed country of origin displays contravene EU regulations and also ignore advice recently issued by the regulatory authorities which makes it quite clear that product from different countries must be separated or notices advising that product of mixed origin is on display used instead,” Mr Forster added.

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