Horsemeat Update

25 Apr

Yesterday I received a press release from HCC, Hybu Cig Cymru which follows: A new poll has revealed that the horsemeat scandal has changed consumer shopping behaviour, with more than seven out of 10 consumers now stating that they care more about the origin of their meat. The meat origin survey was launched by PGI Welsh Lamb to find out whether the horsemeat scandal had impacted upon consumer opinion and purchasing habits.

The survey revealed that 71 per cent of consumers now actively seek out origin labels on meat compared to 48 per cent before news of the scandal broke, with one in five stating they were now less likely to buy meat from the supermarket. By comparison, 37 per cent said they were more likely to buy meat from a local butcher.

Philippa Gill, Brand Marketing Officer with red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru – the organisation behind PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef – said: “The one positive impact of the horsemeat scandal is that it has increased consumer awareness about where the meat they are buying is from. The survey shows that consumers are now significantly more likely to care about the origin of meat. This has converted into a shift in consumer behaviour with nearly three quarters of consumers now actively seeking out origin labels.”

The meat origin survey also revealed that 86 per cent of consumers would like greater assurance of where their meat is from and that it is of guaranteed quality. HCC is running a national campaign to raise awareness of PGI, which stands for Protected Geographical Indication, the EU food status which guarantees full traceability and authenticity of a product. In addition, HCC is appealing to consumers to “Look for the Logos” in a campaign run in butchers and other retailers to demonstrate how the PGI status offers this origin guarantee for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef. Nearly six per cent of all food and drink purchased in the UK already holds either the PGI or PDO (Protected Designated Origin) status, slightly ahead of the European average.

In the PGI Welsh Lamb poll, nearly 80 per cent were reassured by this statistic and believed that more products should be labelled to highlight their origin.

Mrs Gill said: “Consumers can rely on the PGI label as a cast-iron guarantee of the origin of the product that bears its blue and yellow label. For example, PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef can be traced all the way back through the supply chain to the farm, which offers consumers the guarantee of origin that they are currently looking for.”

There are currently 30 products in the UK which have PGI status with at least another 20 going through the official application process. PGI products include Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, the Cumberland Sausage and Newmarket Sausage, as well as Whitstable Oysters, Cornish Sardines and the Arbroath Smokie.

Well congratulations HCC you’ve now taken on board what we have been saying for some time which is that the Welsh public generally haven’t a clue what PGI status is and cannot recognise their logo. It was a pleasure to point you in the right direction. I will not bother to waste further energy asking what HCC mean by a ‘national campaign to raise awareness of PGI’ my readers are well aware of my views of these campaigns and what little value I attach to them.

Sadly Ian and I have no knowledge of this survey, and bearing in mind that we rate most survey’s as pointless and expensive, we are puzzled how this PR slipped through our net. Ian contacted HCC’s PR company Golley Slater and we were told it had been sent to us……………but at least they did re-send it. Again press releases follows:

Consumers quizzed over meat origin opinions PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef have launched a survey to canvas consumer opinion about meat origins. Consumers are being urged to complete the survey to give an insight about whether the horsemeat scandal has impacted their perceptions about meat. The survey asks consumers how much of an interest they took in the origin of meat and if they looked for food origin labels before the scandal compared to now. It goes on to ask if their consumption habits have changed to see if consumers are buying more meat from a local butcher compared to the supermarket.

Pip Gill, of Hybu Cig Cymru – the organisation behind PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef, said: “We’d like to invite as many consumers as possible to fill in our short poll which will give us an insight into meat purchasing behaviour and whether this is changing. Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef have been awarded the European PGI status which means that its origin is guaranteed. The stringent requirements mean that, legally, only lambs which have been born and reared in Wales to specified high standards and slaughtered in an approved abattoir can be labelled ‘Welsh Lamb’. The blue and yellow PGI label on every packet of Welsh Lamb acts as a stamp of authenticity so you can guarantee that the product you are buying is exactly as described and is fully traceable. We believe that if consumers are becoming more concerned about the origin of meat, this label provides peace of mind for them. We are activity campaigning to raise consumer awareness of the PGI label to help provide this quality assurance and origin guarantee.”

Apparently this was only a short online poll conducted to get a snapshot into consumer shopping behaviours following the horsemeat scandal. In total, 309 people completed the survey from all over the UK, which enabled this snapshot to be provided.

I cannot see that 309 people from all over the UK really makes any news worth shouting about. I would have thought that the way the horse meat story has been carried out so extensively in all media, that the majority of people have at last begun to think where their meat comes from. If HCC then helped independent butchers on promotion we might make more progress. More importantly though, if a poll is sent through to people and they have no interest in it, then they are very unlikely to complete it, which in my view makes the poll more than biased. Just think of the number of times when you’re on the web and the site asks you for a few minutes of our time to fill in their questionnaire, how many of us do it unless we are really interested or there is a good incentive to do so? Very few……………………????

Any way to see for yourself what was asked please visit:


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  1. butcher

    April 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    PGI status does the welsh public know what that means of course not
    sit there in your glass tower and pontificate that you know, best bearing in mind you can’t talk to welsh butchers ‘cos you don’t know who we are, but I bet whatever ever campaign you come up with next will be as useless as all your past ones.
    we are best relying on this site to tell us what’s going on and welsh country magazine to get welsh people into our shops.
    well done HCC for not having the courage to change your poor plans

  2. beefy

    May 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

    HCC focus on supermarkets, markets abroad and PGI
    if they focused on butchers, local markets and advertising locally we’d feel supported
    as it is it’s the big farmers, the big butchers and we can go and get lost they care nothing about us
    I’m grateful for this website and magazine who have stuck behind us through thick and thin despite being bullied, it’s a gutsy team here
    such a shame that HCC can’t see their worth and the value they could get from this lot.

  3. Trader

    May 2, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    309 people is a very poor sample.
    What really gets my goat is that WE are paying HCC through slaughter fees, and I consider this very poor value for money. If one of them spent a day in the butchery trade, maybe they would have an idea of what we are up against, but that would be too much like hard work!

  4. butcher 2

    May 8, 2013 at 8:02 am

    309 people from all over the Uk constitutes an HCC survey
    well that shows they are not only not in the real world but that they have still not got our buthcers interest at heart, or in fact in their mindset.
    They are a waste of space and we are having to pay for them
    good job we know where they are although they don’t know where we are do they?
    thanks for this info