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Survey: How do women and men choose meat products in Latvia?

With discussions about the choice of healthy and high-quality meat growing in Latvia, the survey reveals that when it comes to buying meat, women and men have different requirements and habits. At the same time, more than two thirds of respondents in the two groups of people indicated that it was important to them that the meat animals were raised in healthy conditions and without antibiotics.

In Latvia, freshness is the main meat choice criterion both among men and women, as it was cited by 83 percent of the surveyed men and 79 percent of women. The meat trader’s reliability and safety is the second most important criterion for men, named by 35 percent of male respondents in the survey. The second most important criterion named by women (36 percent) is the conditions in which the meat is kept at the store and their compliance with quality standards. Men named this as the third most important criterion (30 percent). Also, it is important to 30 percent of men and 19 percent of women that the meat is of local origin, i.e., produced in Latvia.

Both in Europe and the wider world, women and men pay increasing attention to the quality and healthy properties of food, including meat. The International Food Information Council’s survey of food choice trends ** suggests that the most important criteria include the content and healthfulness of the products (over 40 percent), the producer’s values, including animal welfare (over 20 percent) and responsible production (nearly 15 percent) *

Healthiness and whether the animals have been raised without antibiotics are also among the most important criteria consumers in Latvia take into consideration when choosing meat. 69 percent of men and 66 percent of women would prefer buying meat with the “Raised without Antibiotics” labelling. This criterion has already become important to 32 percent of women and 27 percent of men in their daily choice of meat.

“In the family, women and men have different shopping habits – women often do the main shopping on a daily basis, whereas men shop less frequently and tend to be even more picky in their choice of products. As the rhythm of daily life and eating habits change, quality requirements change as well, which is evident in the criteria that are taken into consideration when buying food. It no longer enough for meat to be fresh and of fine quality. Shoppers increasingly want to know about the environment in which the animals have been raised and their origin, as well as about the conditions in which the meat is being sold at the store – whether the meat is kept in a refrigerated display case and has not reached the expiry date, as well as other details. I have observed this both in my work with clients and in discussion with followers of my blog, as well as in my family and the circle of friends,” says nutrition specialist Lizete Puga.

“Perhaps it is because of my busy everyday life, but most often meat is served to me already cooked, on the plate, so I buy meat comparatively rarely. My friends, too, are more into eating meat, entrusting shopping to someone else. When I buy meat myself, I always assess its quality – including its freshness and where the meat comes from,” says Ghetto Games leader Raimonds Elbakjans.

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 conducted in June 2018 in collaboration with Snapshots and included 702 respondents.

** The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2017 Food and Health Survey.