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Meat Sci. 2010 Feb;84(2):284-92. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2009.05.001. Epub 2009 May 8.

European citizen and consumer attitudes and preferences regarding beef and pork.

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  • 1Ghent University, Department of Agricultural Economics, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Gent, Belgium. wim.verbeke@ugent.be

Abstract

This paper presents the combined mid-term findings of the consumer research components of two EU Sixth Framework Programme integrated projects concerning meat, ProSafeBeef and Q-PorkChains. The consumer pillar of ProSafeBeef carried out eight focus group discussions in May 2008, in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Q-PorkChains conducted a large-scale, web-based, consumer survey in January 2008 in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland. The first project provides a set of qualitative data from a small cohort of focus groups and the second a set of quantitative data from a larger consumer sample. This paper draws together the main findings of both projects and provides a comprehensive overview of European citizens' and consumers' attitudes towards and preferences regarding beef and pork. In general, consumers consider meat to be a healthy and important component of the diet. Consumers support the development of technologies that can improve the health attributes of meat products and guarantee eating quality, but they have a negative view of what they see to be excessive manipulation and lack of naturalness in the production and processing of beef products. In the Q-PorkChains study consumer and citizen segments are identified and profiled. Consumer segments were built upon the frequency and variety of pork consumption. The citizen segments were built upon their attitudes towards pig production systems. Overall, the relationship between individuals' views as citizens and their behaviour as consumers was found to be quite weak and did not appear to greatly or systematically influence meat-buying habits. Future studies in both projects will concentrate on consumers' acceptance of innovative meat product concepts and products, with the aim of boosting consumer trust and invigorating the European beef and pork industries.

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