Worldwide appreciation of British red meat

Consumers across the world have positive perceptions about the quality, taste and tenderness of British red meat, recent research has shown.

A study commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in Europe, North America and South East Asia looked at the qualities important to shoppers when buying red meat, and how they perceived British products in relation to those qualities.

Steven Evans, Senior Consumer Insight Manager for AHDB, explained how the findings helped identify which countries could offer growth for British exports.

Red meat preferences vary across the continents

British products are perceived highly in export markets for traits such as quality, taste and tenderness, he said. “It's important to understand what goes on within each of those different marketplaces. For Europe, taste and appearance came out top as indicators of quality, with production standards and in particular, animal welfare, also coming out higher in this market.”

British products also stood up well in Europe against perceptions of ‘naturalness’, but not so much around ‘hormone free’. This suggests increased communication about production standards in relation to hormone use was important.

To consumers in North America, taste, freshness and ‘use by’ date were the most important factors when assessing quality of red meat. “We have a great message to tell on quality, taste and tenderness. But we also scored really well for food safety and naturalness.”

In South East Asia, food safety and taste were important and British products stacked up well in those areas. “We also did really well with perceptions of production and food safety measures. It's highlighting to us that British meat products have a great story to tell and South East Asian consumers want to hear that message.”

Price and value are going to become more important going forward, Steven added. “We recognise that British products occupy a niche in a lot of markets, and may be holding a price premium.”

Storytelling opportunity for UK farming credentials

Although environmental sustainability didn’t make the list of most important factors, it is still critical, says Steven. “There's a unique story we can tell about the environmental credentials of some of the red meat coming out of Britain.”

AHDB describes exports as the ‘engine which drives economic growth’, and reports around £1.5 billion worth of red meat is exported from the UK each year. Of course, demand for British meat products in domestic and overseas markets has a direct link with the price received by farmers. Understanding the opportunities and nuances of different markets is therefore useful for the whole industry, he concludes.

For further information about this study and more detailed information on the opportunities and challenges of British exports, visit


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