Nearly a third of Welsh consumers polled in a survey say they will be eating fewer processed meat products in the future, following the horse-meat contamination scandal.
Fallout from the horse-meat scandal that has affected most of Europe in recent months continues, with a multinational probe into food traceability affecting at least a dozen nations.
This week, the City of Edinburgh Council in Scotland confirmed the discovery of horse meat in beef mince supplied to a school kitchen. The same batch of mince went to six schools in all, the council said.
Beaufort Research, which conducted the poll in Wales, said the horse-meat scandal seemed to have had only a limited impact on Welsh consumers’ eating habits.
Although 32 per cent of the Welsh adults surveyed said that the news about horsemeat being found in some foods meant they will be eating fewer processed meat products in future, the majority – 61 per cent – intended to eat about the same amount.
A small number, 3 per cent, said they now intend to eat more processed meat products in future.
In the pollster’s latest omnibus survey in Wales, 1012 adults aged 16 and over were asked: “To what extent, if at all, will the recent news about horse meat being found in some processed meat products such as burgers and ready meals change your eating habits?”
While women were more likely to say they would be less likely to eat processed meat products in future (38 per cent) compared to men (27 per cent), the majority of both sexes were on the whole unaffected by the horse-meat revelations, with 67 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women intending to each the same amount of processed meat.
Consumers in the largely rural areas of Mid-West Wales (Ceredigion, Powys, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire) were more adversely affected by the horse-meat scandal – two in five (41 per cent) reported that they would now be eating fewer processed meat products.
In North Wales, (Anglesey, Conwy, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham), West South Wales (Swansea, Neath & Port Talbot and Bridgend) and the Valleys (Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent), around a quarter reported that they would be eating less processed meat (North 29 per cent; West South 27 per cent; Valleys 26 per cent). In Cardiff and SE Wales (Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Newport), just over a third (37 per cent) said they would now be eating fewer processed meat products.
Interestingly, intended eating habits did not change according to socioeconomic grade.
Also, having children in the household did not influence intended eating habits; again, around three in five Welsh consumers with children (62 per cent) and without children (60 per cent) said they would be eating the same amount of processed meat products in future.
The survey was conducted across Wales between March 1 and March 15.