The European Commission (EC) has published a report titled “Origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient: consumers’ attitude, feasibility of possible scenarios and impacts” that provides an overview of the potential conse- quences of mandatory origin labeling of meat used as an ingredient in food.
Based on an independent study completed in July 2013, the report explores three scenarios: (i) maintaining current voluntary origin labeling; (ii) intro-ducing mandatory labeling for EU/non-EU or EU/specific third country indication; and (iii) introducing mandatory labeling indicating the specific EU member state or the specific third country.
Among other things, the findings revealed that (i) overall there is “strong” consumer interest in origin labeling; (ii) a considerable difference exists among European Union (EU) member states on consumer preferences and understanding of origin information as well as on the levels of motivation and reasons for wishing to have such information; and (iii) consumer interest for origin labeling ranks behind price and quality in terms of the most important factors affecting consumer choice. Evidently, strong consumer interest in origin labeling is not reflected in consumers’ willingness to pay additional costs. At price increases of less than 10 percent, consumer willingness to pay fell by 60 to 80 percent.
The Commission plans to determine next steps after discussions with EU member states and the European Parliament. See European Commission News Release, December 17, 2013.