SAFETY FIRST

Consumers willing to pay more for antibiotic-free meat, says study

Misuse and overuse of chemicals in the food chain directly impact public health

In Summary

• There is a correlation between how animals are raised and the quality of the end product

• There is preference for white meat with chicken topping the list followed by fish

Chicken is the preferred choice of white meat. /FILE
PREFERENCE: Chicken is the preferred choice of white meat. /FILE

 

Meat consumers in Africa are willing to pay a premium price for antibiotics-free meat, according to a new survey launched on Thursday.

The study by World Animal Protection, a Kenyan chapter of a global animal rights lobby, says there is an increasing preference for white meat.

Chicken tops the list followed by fish.

Consumers are willing to pay more if they are assured the meat products are free of antibiotics and chemicals, that the animals were raised and transported in high welfare conditions and slaughtered humanely.

The lobby's animal in farming campaign manager, Victor Yamo, said during the release of the report in a Nairobi hotel that there is a strong correlation between how animals are raised and the quality of the end product. 

Yamo said misuse and overuse of antibiotics in the food chain directly impact public health. 

“Supermarkets, fast food restaurants and large producers have incredible market power and should use their leverage to help address this public health crisis by ending the misuse of antibiotics as well as animal suffering," he said.

He said the entire meat value chain – poultry, pork and beef - must start using antimicrobials responsibly.

 “Consumers should demand evidence of quality assurance such as antibiotic-free, higher welfare produced meat and meat products from the outlets where they obtain their meat and meat products.” 

 

A total of 1,346 people were surveyed, 1,082 manually and the rest electronically in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda.

Most respondents -76.4 per cent -linked the use of antibiotics in animals to poor human health and diseases.

"Over 80 per cent of the respondents are keen on food safety and this had a huge influence on their purchasing decisions – including willing to pay more for humanely produced meat," the report reads.

Three-quarters of the interviewees would dissuade family and friends from shopping for meat in supermarkets that sourced meat products from poor animal welfare producers.

Further, 82.7 per cent of the respondents would purchase more meat and meat products with a food safety assurance marker from supermarkets and fast-food restaurants.

A 52.9 percentage of the respondents said they would purchase more if the production was environmentally friendly while 68.8 per cent said they would purchase more if assured the meat is free of chemicals.

 

The study ran mainly in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda.

Kenya had most participants with 656 respondents followed by Tanzania (273), Uganda (217) and Zambia (172).

The targeted consumers were aged 15-55 years.