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UK study explores consumer attitudes to NZ red meat

11 July 2022

AHDB

Price has a significant impact on buying behaviour

Since the UK exited the EU, new and potential trade deals have been highlighted in the news, including Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with New Zealand. But are UK consumers likely to buy New Zealand produce in our supermarkets and restaurants? The UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) highlights the results of a study that looked at just that.

According to the study, which was conducted by the Department for International Trade (DIT), 64% of UK consumers support the trade agreement with New Zealand. However, consumers said the UK government should protect UK farmers, and maintain environmental and UK food standards when negotiating. 

AHDB commissioned consumer research with YouGov to identify UK consumers’ willingness to buy imported foods from New Zealand. Their research found that if meat produced in New Zealand was sold in the supermarket or in a restaurant, and was labelled as produced overseas, but cost the same as British produced meat, 42% of Brits would likely purchase it. A similar proportion (40%) said it was not likely. This highlights the spilt nature of purchase decision making based on country of origin.

When asked specifically about a type of protein and prompting them on a particular product, the majority of consumers claim they would purchase British beef (82%) and British lamb (70%), even if beef or lamb produced in New Zealand was priced the same in-store.

It’s worth noting that price has a significant impact on consumer buying behaviour, said AHDB, and in the current climate with inflation at a record high, household budgets are likely to experience some pressure, which may see consumers turn to cheaper goods.

In the AHDB/YouGov study, UK consumers were asked to rate their impression of New Zealand meat and dairy production standards compared to the UKs. Approximately half of consumers surveyed did not know. 

Although consumers aren’t necessarily aware of New Zealand’s red meat production standards, it is understandable that UK consumers place trust in New Zealand products with notable pockets of consumers feeling production standards are around the same as the UK. Consumers are, after all, already used to seeing New Zealand beef and lamb on the supermarket shelves.

The study also found that 15% of consumers believe New Zealand’s meat and dairy production has a better impact on the environment than domestic.

Around the topic of quality, most didn’t know (40%) or thought the quality was the same (39%). Of those who did differentiate, 15% of consumers believed meat and dairy produced in New Zealand is of better quality than domestic with only 6% feeling the quality would be worse than the UK.

In conclusion, AHDB noted that consumers currently face significant economic pressure, and their decisions in the supermarket will likely centre around price. 



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