Friday, 15 February 2013

‘Horsegate’ – Protecting consumer confidence

Reassuring the public in times of crisis is vital and with ongoing revelations about horse meat, EBLEX and BPEX are taking the steps to protect consumer confidence in assured fresh meat.

On February 16th, all national newspapers will feature half page adverts highlighting the traceability and provenance of fresh beef, lamb, pork and bacon bearing the Red Tractor and Quality Standard Mark (QSM) assurance scheme labels. A further advert will appear in the Evening Standard on Monday. They have been put together as part of a co-ordinated industry campaign and will run alongside NFU adverts.

These adverts will help underpin consumer confidence and support the anecdotal evidence from multiple and independent retailers that demand for assured fresh meat has remained robust during the scandal. A Kantar poll has also shown that 20 per cent of consumers have indicated that they would buy more fresh meat and 13 per cent would buy more locally sourced meat which is encouraging.

Our advertising campaign will reiterate that by looking for the Red Tractor and QSM assurance marks on packs of fresh beef, lamb, pork and bacon, consumers can rest assured that what they are buying is fully traceable.

Additionally, caterers supplying schools across England are being offered help in sourcing assured beef and lamb in the wake of the scandal. We have contacted the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) and written to its 500-plus local authority, school and catering members in the UK to highlight the value of using meat produced as part of the Red Tractor assurance scheme, as well as its own Quality Standard Mark (QSM).

Understandably, parents want to know that what their children are eating at school is good quality and fully traceable. We are urging those companies that do supply schools to go the extra mile and demonstrate that the meat they are supplying is of a high standard with a completely transparent supply chain.

The over arching message is clearly that provenance of products is important for our consumers and as such independent auditing, which is already a key requirement of both the Red Tractor and QSM assurance schemes, will be central to ensuring consumer confidence. By looking marks on packs of fresh beef, lamb, pork and bacon consumers reiterate consumers can be assured of the traceability of what they are buying.