Contrary to what vegans might say, new research shows red meat producers are well respected

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The research showed farmers were among the most trusted members of the Australian community.
Camera IconThe research showed farmers were among the most trusted members of the Australian community. Credit: Lara Ladyman

New research shows Australian consumers continue to hold red meat producers in high regard, placing farmers among the most trusted community members.

The independent annual research conducted by consultancy firm Pollinate on behalf of Meat and Livestock Australia, measured consumer sentiment towards the red meat industry in metropolitan areas.

MLA managing director Jason Strong said the findings reflected a growing acknowledgement of cattle and sheep producers and the work of the industry.

“Health and nutrition are the main reasons for people wanting to eat more red meat, with protein and iron being the key factors,” he said.

“Perceptions of the Australian red meat industry are relatively strong, and knowledge of the industry among consumers in metropolitan Australia is growing.

“Our insights also show that positive community sentiment is correlated with the community’s understanding of our industry.”

Meat and Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong.
Camera IconMeat and Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong. Credit: MLA

Mr Strong said Pollinate’s research data highlighted farmers were among the most trusted members of the Australian community, with doctors and scientists.

“Those who feel they have a stronger understanding also feel more positive towards the production of red meat in Australia, farmers’ care for the environment and raising of cattle and sheep in a humane manner,” he said.

“They also believe it is particularly important for school children to learn more about how the industry produces beef and lamb.

“Importantly, consumption and purchasing of red meat has remained relatively stable, and two out of three consumers plan on eating the same amount of red meat or increase their consumption during the next year.”

Mr Strong said the insights also reflected the effect of MLA’s programs on building community trust in the red meat industry.

“With the knowledge that the red meat industry has a goal for net zero emissions by 2030, 53 per cent of metro consumers thought more positively about the red meat industry and among those who claim to have a good industry knowledge, 65 per cent would feel more positive towards the industry if we can achieve that ambition,” he said.

“Our paddock-to-plate concept resonates very well among metropolitan audiences with over half wanting to learn more about how beef and lamb is produced along the supply chain.”

MLA’s consumer sentiment research also showed that the number of consumers who claimed to be vegetarian had remained relatively stable.

“Less than 10 per cent of consumers claim to be vegetarian, but 58 per cent of those that claim to be vegetarian, still eat meat occasionally,” Mr Strong said.

The annual research is used to inform community engagement and marketing activities that MLA undertakes on behalf of the red meat industry.

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