Report finds 82% of consumers want antibiotic-free meat

Report finds 82% of consumers want antibiotic-free meat

Natural foods retailers can learn more than one thing from a report released this morning that found 86 percent of Americans want antibiotic-free meat available at their grocery store and a premium cost wouldn’t deter their choice.

Consumer Reports released the information after sending secret shoppers into 13 of the nation’s largest supermarkets and surveying 1,000 people for its Meat on Drugs report.

The magazine reported that: 

  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents found meat raised without antibiotics in the meat section where they usually shop.
  • Of those who do not have it in their local meat section, 82 percent said they would buy it if it were available.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents stated that they would be willing to pay at least 5 cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics.
  • More than a third (37 percent) would pay a dollar or more extra per pound.
  • The majority of respondents were extremely or very concerned about issues related to the use of antibiotics in animal feed.

And, not surprisingly for those in the natural foods industry, Consumer Reports found confusing labels. The magazine examines and explains the range of labels  (something worth reading and sharing), calling organic the most useful.

You already stock products that these consumers want, so how do you fit in?

Retailers that specialize in natural and organic foods can relish the fact that demand for their products appears to be growing. But this report highlights a disappointing fact: Too many overlook the local health food store as an important part of improving the nation’s health.

From the report: “Consumers Union recommends that all supermarkets move toward offering only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics, to be a part of solving a major national health crisis. We also urge consumers to buy these products wherever they can find them.”

Thankfully, the report writers say consumers should purchase these products wherever available, but it focuses great attention on supermarkets and touts Whole Foods Market several times as a major grocer doing things right because it does not stock meat raised with antibiotics.

Spreading the knowledge of good health to the mass market is good. Unfortunately, though, reports like this fail to remember the retailers that have been leading such efforts in their aisles for years.

There’s opportunity here for natural foods retailers to use the Meat on Drugs report (and even this week’s Dirty Dozen release from the Environmental Working Group ) as an educational tool and as a launching point to tout what you offer.  

How do you use reports like Meat on Drugs and the Dirty Dozen in your store? Share your ideas below.

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