Positive Image for Irish Lamb in Belgium25 March 2013
BELGIUM - Bord Bia recently commissioned consumer research in Belgium to measure consumers’ perception of lamb and their awareness and propensity to buy Irish lamb, writes Noreen Lanigan from teh Paris Office Manager of Bord Bia – Irish Food Board.
The survey was conducted by GFK Belgium in December 2012, via online interviews amongst a sample of 782 meat consuming households.
According to the results, 43 per cent of meat consuming households in Belgium eat lamb at least once per year, with higher penetration in the Southern French-speaking part of the country where 50 per cent of households consume lamb at least once per year compared to 38 per cent in the Northern Flemish-speaking region.
However 27 per cent of respondents admitted purchasing less lamb than a year previously, compared to 17 per cent for beef, and this figure rose to 34 per cent amongst occasional lamb consumers. Typically frequent purchasers buy lamb at their butcher shop while occasional purchasers prefer to purchase in a supermarket.
The research highlighted the key selection criteria for Belgian lamb shoppers as price (63 per cent), the cut (56 per cent) and the visual appearance of the lamb (55 per cent). Neither origin or quality labels ranked highly, falling in 11th and 12th position in terms of key criteria, with only 25 per cent and 21 per cent of consumers deeming them critical in their purchase decision.
At the same time the research confirmed a high awareness of Ireland amongst Belgian lamb consumers, with 70 per cent spontaneously naming Ireland as a lamb producer, compared to 55 per cent of non-users. Ireland ranks third in order of origin preference for lamb purchased by 22 per cent of Belgian shoppers after Belgium (31 per cent) and New Zealand (23 per cent), and well ahead of the UK (13 per cent) and France (7 per cent).
Irish lamb exports to Belgium in 2012, increased significantly (+29 per cent in value according to CSO) and this research indicates room for further growth particularly amongst frequent consumers who have a higher awareness and interest in sustainability.