Half of UK food shoppers are flexible about what meat they buy, allowing retailers to influence their choices, according to new research.

The findings, commissioned by the AHDB, showed shoppers are influenced most in-store by the price and taste of meat.

Influencing factors

Chicken and beef were more likely to be planned with 69% of chicken and 64% of beef purchases decided at home.

Contrarily, both pork and lamb purchases were more likely than the average meat purchase to be impulse buys decided in the shop.

However, some factors become more influential at the point of purchase, such as the ease and speed of preparation and cooking and it being part of a specific meal.

Consumers told the survey price was the most important factor in their decision-making, followed by taste, suitability for the whole family and fourthly the origin of the meat as local or British.

Less important factors included: a long use-by date; pack size; the versatility of the cut; and the meat’s quality tier.


The research also revealed that 45% of respondents say meat displays currently lack inspiration.

Retailers have a good opportunity here to influence shoppers’ choices when in store. Signage could be used, and recipe cards or on pack imagery would show how the cooked product could look and what you could make with it. They could also be used to bring the convenience, taste and enjoyment factors to life.

Promotions play a big role in decision-making and may lead shoppers to change their mind about which meat they choose, or select a different cut that doesn’t typically make it on to a shopping list.

Different meats and cuts meet different weekday and weekend meal needs, providing an opportunity to tailor communication or promotional activity to match the day of the week.

Matt Southam, head of Retail and Foodservice Engagement, said: “There is so much scope to influence the meat choices of shoppers, both while they’re planning their weekly shop at home and while in store.

Retailers need to look closer at the messaging and imagery used to encourage people to widen their choices for mealtimes.

“And promotions will encourage people to move away from their traditional choices, particularly at weekends when people have more time to experiment with new cuts of meat.”