Majority of Australians feel good about red meat industry and want to learn more

Key points:

  • Perceptions of the Australian red meat industry is strong, with 3 in 5 Australians feeling good about the beef and lamb industry.
  • Around half of the metro Australians are interested in learning more about how beef and lamb is produced.
  • The majority of Australians living in metropolitan areas trust the beef and lamb industries at 61% and 60% respectively.

Perceptions and trust of the red meat industry are strong among metropolitan Australians, as is the desire to learn more about how the beef and lamb industries operate, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) latest consumer sentiment research.

Conducted annually since 2010 by strategic consultancy firm Pollinate on behalf of MLA, the research measures and tracks consumer sentiment in the community towards the Australian red meat industry.

The research is used to inform MLA’s community engagement strategy addressing community concerns and benchmark the impact of MLA’s programs on building community trust in the red meat industry.

MLA Managing Director Jason Strong said this year’s consumer insights reflected an increasing desire to understand more about how the industry works from metro Australia.

“Consumers, especially within our cities, are wanting to learn more about how beef and lamb is produced, in particular how farmers are looking after the environment and their animals. . This represents a significant opportunity for the sector as our research indicates that higher levels of industry knowledge are linked to better perceptions.

“A greater understanding of our industry also has benefits for producers through increased demand. Consumers with higher levels of industry knowledge are more likely to have increased their red meat consumption overall. This is because they understand the care and efforts undertaken by Australian cattle and sheep producers in raising their livestock and looking after the environment” Mr Strong said.

Of those surveyed, consumers are most interested in learning about how producers ensure the humane treatment of their livestock (46%), and how they look after the environment (44%).

Knowledge of the industry also impacts on trust, with 61% of metropolitan Australians having a strong level of trust in the Australian beef industry, and 60% having trust in the Australian sheep industry.

The top three drivers of trust in the industry were the perceptions that producers:

1. Are ethical and trustworthy with animals humanely raised

2. Listen, respect and respond to community concerns

3. Are taking actions to reduce environmental impact improving sustainability.

“Similar to how knowledge relates to consumption, a higher level of trust also corresponds to a higher level of consumption,” according to Mr Strong.

“Those consumers who had a high level of trust, were more likely to consume red meat more frequently than those with lower levels of trust.

“The strong link between knowledge, improved perceptions, trust and consumption patterns highlights the importance of continuing to raise knowledge in our industry and to demonstrate action around animal welfare and reducing our environmental impact, to ultimately maintain trust in the red meat industry and overall red meat consumption in Australia,” said Mr Strong.

Changes in consumption

Over the last 12 months, red meat consumption patterns have remained relatively stable, with 71% of metro Australians eating the same amount or having increased their consumption of red meat over the past year.

The main reasons cited for maintaining or increasing red meat consumption come down to nutrition, taste and ease of cooking. While cost was named as the main reason as to why 29% of consumers reduced red meat consumption in the past year.

“The research significantly informs the community engagement and marketing activities that MLA undertakes on behalf of the red meat industry.

“Explaining our productions systems and demonstrating that our producers are ethical and responsible custodians of livestock, land and natural resources helps to inform the community and strengthen an already proud Australian industry,” said Mr Strong.

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