Research finds that UK consumers dislike hormones in beef and chlorine washed chicken

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The research also reveals that UK consumers highly value food production that adheres to food safety standards set by the EU as well as UK produced food

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

The research also reveals that UK consumers highly value food production that adheres to food safety standards set by the EU as well as UK produced food. These findings are particularly relevant for post-Brexit trade deals and the ongoing debates about UK food standards.

The researchers conducted choice 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.

These methods of food production are common in the USA but are prohibited under EU food safety regulations.

Results confirm that UK consumers dislike food produced using these production methods. In contrast, participants positively valued EU food safety standards as well as the UK as a country of origin for beef, chicken pork and corn production.

These findings are timely given the status of the UK’s post-Brexit agricultural trade negotiations and the ongoing debate in Parliament about legislative basis of future food standards.

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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The study ‘Do Consumers Really Care? An Economic Analysis of Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Produced Using Prohibited Production Methods’ was published in Journal of Agricultural Economics: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1477-9552.12410

(Professor Kelvin Balcombe, University of Reading; Professor Iain Fraser, University of Kent; Dylan Bradley, IHS Markit).

DOI: 10.1111/1477-9552.12410

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Notes to Editors

The University of Kent is a leading UK university producing world-class research, rated internationally excellent and leading the way in many fields of study. Our 20,000 students are based at campuses and centres in Canterbury, Medway, Brussels and Paris.

With 97% of our research judged to be of international quality in the most recent Research Assessment Framework (REF2014), our students study with some of the most influential thinkers in the world. Universities UK recently named research from the University as one of the UK’s 100 Best Breakthroughs of the last century for its significant impact on people’s everyday lives.

We are renowned for our inspirational teaching. Awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), we were presented with the Outstanding Support for Students award at the 2018 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards for the second year running.

Our graduates are equipped for a successful future allowing them to compete effectively in the global job market. More than 95% of graduates find a job or study opportunity within six months.

The University is a truly international community with over 40% of our academics coming from outside the UK and our students representing over 150 nationalities.

We are a major economic force in south east England, supporting innovation and enterprise. We are worth £0.9 billion to the economy of the south east and support more than 9,400 jobs in the region.

In March 2018, the Government and Health Education England (HEE) announced that the joint bid by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University for funded places to establish a medical school has been successful. The first intake of undergraduates to the Kent and Medway Medical School will be in September 2020.

We are proud to be part of Canterbury, Medway and the county of Kent and, through collaboration with partners, work to ensure our global ambitions have a positive impact on the region’s academic, cultural, social and economic landscape.

Media Contact
Sam Wood
[email protected]
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12410

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