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UK Consumers Choose More Farm-assured Foods

28 October 2013

UK - Britain - the ready meal capital of Western Europe - has lost its trust in pre-prepared food while demand for higher welfare food is on the up, according to the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme.

In a survey by YouGov for Freedom Food, nearly half of people (46 per cent) said that their trust in pre-prepared food such as ready meals has decreased since the horse meat scandal earlier this year.

It also revealed that most of us (81 per cent of respondents) would ideally like to cook from scratch, with only 12 per cent saying they would rather serve up ready meals or pre-prepared food.

This comes in the wake of a national audit office report this month that is highly critical of government changes weakening food controls. It cites a dramatic increase in food fraud, with one in six products failing tests for the presence of undeclared species in 2012.

New figures from Freedom Food also show that the amount of Freedom Food logo-ed food – including chicken, pork, salmon, eggs - has increased by 36 per cent over the last three years (2009-2012) and is predicted to grow by a further 12 per cent this year, suggesting animal welfare and food provenance is becoming ever more important in consumers’ minds.

Furthermore, Freedom Food reported an increase in farmers wanting to join its higher welfare scheme since the horsemeat scandal, in which several supposed beef products contained horse meat. And recent reports from the Q Guild - which represents butchers across England, Scotland and Wales – reveal that some of its members have seen a 20 to 30 per cent spike in sales.

Freedom Food launches cooking contest

In response to these findings, and in a bid to get people thinking more about the welfare of the animals that produce our food, Freedom Food is launching Compassionate Cook.

Supported by Fairtrade, Compassionate Cook is a ‘how to’ recipe video contest for cooks who care about good, simple, honest food and where it comes from.

TV chef and Compassionate Cook judge, Sophie Wright, explaied: “We’re looking for unsung cooking heroes with flair, personality and charisma. We don’t want fancy chefs using fancy ingredients, just good honest cooks who can create delicious, yet simple dishes that we can all make at home.”

But that is not all the judges are looking for: they are on the hunt for cooks with the ‘compassion’ factor as fellow judge.

Chef Paul Merrett, said: “More than 900 million animals are farmed each year in the UK for food. Sadly the majority are kept in conditions most people would find unacceptable if they knew about them. We’re looking for cooks who care about the animals and people that help produce our food, by using ingredients with the Freedom Food and Fairtrade labels.”

The lucky winner will win a year’s worth of grocery shopping for a family of four, worth £4,000. Plus two runners up will receive £500 worth of shopping each.

How to enter the competition

Between 28 October 2013 and 5 January 2014, contestants can visit and upload a video (of no more than five minutes) on how to make their favourite, simple dish using Freedom Food and Fairtrade ingredients. They must also explain why farm animal welfare and ethical shopping matters to them.

Contestants share their video with friends and family to encourage them to vote

On 3 February 2014, the 20 videos with the most votes will be judged by Freedom Food’s expert panel made up of TV chefs and authors Sophie Wright and Paul Merrett, Rob Macklin, Head of Food and Farming for the National Trust and RSPCA farm monitor, Allan Pearson.

The winners will be announced on 10 February 2014.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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