Positive trends for British pork overseas

Positive trends for British pork overseas

Research from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has found that British pork is performing well overseas with consumers actively seeking out UK product for its food safety credentials and provenance.

The research, which was unveiled at AHDB’s Red Meat Export Conference, focuses on how consumer buying behaviour across the three continents of Europe, Northern America and Asia is influenced by three overarching factors – quality, price and taste.

These factors rank in different orders of importance for consumers in different cities, countries and continents. The study found that in China the key factors are food safety, quality and health, whereas in Mexico quality, taste and price are most important.

Around 10% of consumers in the United States and Canada claim to consciously buy British pork either very or quite regularly – with quality, value and taste being the top three drivers. Consumers in Europe and South East Asia are slightly higher at 17%.

The study found that British food products are renowned for holding a price premium, but targeted messaging highlighting quality, taste, food safety and production factors of meat could help to justify the increased cost compared with domestic meat.

Some other key findings include:

  • Quality is the top priority for consumers in Europe, North America and South East Asia. However, what a consumer considers ‘quality’ is unique to the individual and can encompass further factors such as product taste
  • A small proportion of Asian consumers perceive the nutritional value and health credentials of British red meat to be better than domestic products compared with that of other primary purchase drivers, such as quality and food safety. This suggests there is an opportunity to address these specific drivers alongside the primary drivers in the Asian marketplace
  • While environmental sustainability and animal welfare are currently lower-ranking drivers in South East Asia, they could become more important over time, therefore careful consideration should be given to what could become a growing trend.

A number of challenges

Consumer insight analyst Rachel Rose added: “The research shows there are many opportunities for British meat exports, however, exporters still face a number of challenges within existing markets. For instance, Canadian consumers show a strong desire for local red meat, while Japan notably does not regard British products as highly as domestic equivalents.

“Many markets are open to the idea of buying British red meat and, while price is a barrier, we must utilise the current positive predisposition – making the most of where there is already openness whilst addressing perceptions in those markets that are less likely to consider our meat.”

AHDB said that British food products remain relatively niche in export markets and “more needs to be done to highlight the positive attributes of pork from the UK.”

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