Survey reveals Scots are being misled about red meat

Almost two-thirds (64%) of Scots are concerned about the impact of veganism on Scotland’s farming industry, according to the results of a new survey carried out by Censuswide.

The results of the independent survey, commissioned by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), reveal that consumers are being misled by inaccurate information about red meat production.

This information often relates to lower standard production systems in very different parts of the world and has been causing confusion and misunderstanding among consumers.

The research revealed that while almost all of those surveyed (92%) eat red meat, almost half (49%) are trying to eat less of it.

The top reasons those surveyed gave for reducing their red meat consumption include animal welfare (26%), followed by concerns about the environmental impact of farming (19%) – reasons QMS says are unsubstantiated when it comes to Scotland’s farming practices.

The research also highlighted a rise in the number of consumers opting for meat-free meals, with 59% incorporating meat substitutes into their diets believing, often inaccurately, that they are healthier alternatives.

A report produced by Action on Salt in 2018 found that 28% of meat alternative products exceeded their maximum salt reduction target.

And even more worryingly, the findings also show that the majority of consumers (55%) admit they do not actually know the ingredients of meat-free products.

The survey also revealed that 64% of Scots are concerned about the impact of veganism on Scotland’s farming industry, suggesting consumers value the role of livestock farming.

Alan Clarke, QMS chief executive, said: “While it’s encouraging that the nation feels really strongly about protecting Scotland’s farming industry, when it comes to red meat consumption it’s vital that we ensure people are aware of the facts to fully inform their decisions.

“In Scotland, producers are very proud of our animal welfare and our sustainability credentials are exceptionally strong.

“Livestock farmers play a major role in looking after the landscape and grazing animals are needed for the habitats of many species.

The reality is that 80% of Scotland’s farmland is comprised of grass and farmland not suitable for growing crops – but ideal for producing beef.

He added: “From the research results, we can see that people really care about safeguarding the industry, and we want to give them the facts as to why it’s right for them to do so.”

Scotch Beef

To be sold as Scotch Beef, meat must come from animals which have been born, reared and processed in Scotland.

Scotland was first in the world to introduce quality assurance standards. To be eligible to be sold as Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork, meat must come from quality assured farms.

The standards also cover feed, haulage, auction markets and processors – so the entire production chain is covered.

Health benefits

As part of Quality Meat Scotland’s ‘Know Your Beef’ campaign, the industry organisation has been working with Registered Nutritionist Dr. Laura Wyness.

Dr. Wyness added: “Having a varied balanced diet is the key to getting the right mix of nutrients including vitamins and minerals. If you remove a whole food group from your diet, it is vital to ensure your diet will provide you with all the nutrients you need.

Beef is a great source of protein and is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B3, B6, B12 and zinc.  It also is a source of easily-absorbed iron.

“Those who follow a diet which doesn’t include red meat, such as beef, may be at greater risk of lacking key nutrients.”