UK consumers dislike hormones in beef and chlorine washed chicken, research finds

New economic research from the University of Kent, University of Reading and IHS Markit, has revealed the extent to which UK consumers dislike food produced using production methods such as hormones in beef and chlorine washed chicken.

The researchers conducted experiments for four food products, examining UK consumer attitudes for food produced using several agricultural production methods currently prohibited in the UK, including chlorine washed chicken and beef from cattle grown using hormone implants – methods of food production which are common in the USA but are prohibited under EU food safety regulations.

Results concluded that UK consumers dislike food produced using these production methods. In contrast, the research also revealed that UK consumers highly value food production that adheres to food safety standards set by the EU as well as UK produced food.

Professor Iain Fraser, principle investigator and Professor of Agri-Environmental Economics at the University of Kent said: “Our findings are a strong indicator of the expectations placed on food production by UK consumers. Methods of food production that fall short in terms of animal welfare draw a negative response from UK consumers, whilst in contrast the presence of EU food safety standards on packaging results in a positive response from consumers. Data from the same project also suggests that consumers tend to strongly value EU food standards regardless of their attitudes towards Brexit.

“As the UK continues to consider post-Brexit agricultural trade arrangements, as well as how to capture industry and public views within the Agricultural Bill currently going through Parliament, these findings support the need to maintain high UK food standards.”

 

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