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To 68% of customers buying meat it is important that animals are raised without antibiotics

Residents of Latvia are becoming increasingly demanding on the quality of products sold at stores. An opinion poll carried out in June found that more than two-thirds or 68% of residents buying meat would prefer antibiotics-free meat.

As discussions about farm animal welfare and, subsequently, the quality of meat are gaining momentum, increasingly more residents buying meat pay attention to whether animals were healthy, raised in good environment and without antibiotics.

Nutritionist Ksenija Adrijanova explains: “The current trends show that people, including young people, increasingly often choose healthy food and healthy lifestyle, and this is an informed choice they make. When shopping, they read product labels and make sure they know where a product was made. There are a lot of myths about chicken meat in society – many people believe that growth hormones are used to raise chicken, or that it is impossible to raise chickens without giving them disproportionate amounts of antibiotics. These beliefs are misleading and harmful to people’s perception of chicken meat, which is actually a valuable source of lean protein. All chicken meat available at stores is safe, but chicken raised without antibiotics means higher quality. I see that producers are looking for solutions and raising poultry without antibiotics, by creating environments where the birds are not exposed to infections and therefore are not at risk of falling ill.”

According to poll findings, 68% of those who buy meat say it is important to them that no antibiotics are used in raising animals. One-third of respondents said they were already choosing meat labeled as “Raised without Antibiotics”, including 40% of respondents in the group of 18 to 29 year olds and 33 percent of those older than 40.

Residents’ expectations have been increasing regarding not only the origin of meat, but also the circumstances in which meat is sold. 30% of respondents said that the seller’s reliability and integrity was important to them, while 80% make sure that meat is stored in the correct and quality conditions at stores.

Considering consumers’ growing demands regarding meat quality, Putnu fabrika Ķekava started offering meat of increased quality with the “Raised without Antibiotics” labelling last year. This year, the company added first grill products with this labelling. Ķekava is the first meat producer in the Baltics and one of the few in Europe that has introduced a production model allowing to raise broilers healthy, without illnesses, thus avoiding the use of antibiotics. Consumption of antibiotics at Putnu fabrika Ķekava is among the lowest in the European Union and on the same level as in Norway, Iceland and Sweden.

*The survey was carried out in June 2018 in collaboration with Snapshots by interviewing 702 respondents.