Meat consumers prefer local, research finds

The country of origin is the number one characteristic consumers use when choosing meat, and they mostly prefer their own local products, a new Lincoln University study shows.

This emphasis on locally grown meat was identified in new research* by Dr Nic Lees and Joshua Aboah.

Dr Lees said the results had significant implications for New Zealand meat exporters, as in many markets New Zealand is competing with local products.

“In these countries we need to provide consumers with a reason to choose our products rather than their locally produced beef or lamb. 

“Traditionally we have been able to compete by selling at a lower price.

He said while the research showed that price is an important facto, there were other areas New Zealand could focus on to compete. 

For example, Dr Lees said, the fourth most important factor was the type of production system. 

“New Zealand has an advantage here because our natural, grass-fed farming systems.

“There is an opportunity to take greater advantage of this however this requires communicating these attributes directly to consumers.”

In the research they sought to determine the most important indicators of quality that consumers use in their purchasing decisions. They analysed the results of 47 recent research articles on the topic  

There were some exceptions to the local products first finding in countries where their consumers do not having confidence in their own food safety standards. In countries such as China and Brazil consumers prefer imported meat for this reason. 

*Consumers use of quality cues for meat purchase: Research trends and future pathways

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