Hierarchy level 3 – Reassurance on environment and farming

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Within the hierarchy information, sustainability and animal welfare specifics are seen as a nice to have rather than an essential for many consumers. From the in-store research it was found that these messages work the best and are the most impactful when they are within the fixture and bay rather than on pack.

Red meat labelling hierarchy

One of the nuances between subgroups within the research was that shoppers who were cutting back on red meat and shoppers who buy red meat less often were slightly more likely to prefer packs with environmental or sustainability messaging. However, for the most part, they still preferred the packs with the foodie imagery and health messaging.

This difference was most apparent in the mince pack.

Shopper preferences for beef mince labels

Because of the information provided about it being British meat, red tractor, regeneration farming which is positive and makes you feel better about your choice of purchases. Shopper respondent

However, shoppers cutting back on red meat remains a small proportion of the population, with only 20% claiming to be actively cutting back on red meat (Source: AHDB/YouGov Nov 2023). Therefore, unless you are particularly trying to target a meat reducer audience or the product has a particularly unique sustainability message, our recommendation would be for this messaging to be on other point of sale within the aisle.

An additional nuance of both environment and animal welfare messaging is that they often create more questions with consumers than they answer. Therefore, many consumers wanted to know there was a place to go for additional information. This is where we think including QR codes could be useful.

Of the farming and environment messaging, it was the animal grazing ones which came out top.

Which of the below messages would encourage you to make a purchase? (of those interested in farming and sustainability messaging)

Comes from grass-fed and free range animals


Comes from animals that are outdoor bred


50% less packaging and fully recyclable


Our farmers high standards maintain top animal health and welfare


Eating locally sourced meat reduces your food miles


Our animal welfare standards are world class


World leading standards in animal health, welfare and food safety


Red meat from the UK is amongst the most sustainable in the world


Regeneratively farmed


The carbon footprint of British pork has fallen by over a third since 2003



Plastic reduction was also included as an option here and it came in third position, showing this is also still important to shoppers but perhaps to a lesser extent than in previous years when plastic was the biggest environmental and farming issue for many consumers. However, it was still the biggest environment message.

If you were going to use secondary imagery on your environmental or animal welfare messaging, the research showed shoppers prefer grass or imagery of fields. Although some shoppers didn’t mind imagery of animals, most were put off by seeing animal imagery on pack. 

Environment and farming summary:

  • This messaging still works best within the meat bay
  • However, if your product has a unique environment or animal welfare message you could include it for stand out which would appeal to those cutting back
  • Including this messaging on pack can give consumers more questions, so utilise QR codes for those who want more information
Image of staff member Grace Randall

Grace Randall

Lead Retail Insight Manager

See full bio

Image of staff member Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Retail and Consumer Insight Analyst

See full bio

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