Aug 16, 2018 | Updated: 01:42 PM EDT

Prepacked Meat Sales Decline Following WHO's Announcement

Nov 24, 2015 08:49 PM EST

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Following the World Health Organization's findings on how processed meat can cause cancer, bacons and sausages have been sliced out from people's shopping list. Grocery stores in the United Kingdom have revealed a significant £3 million reduction in sale in the first two weeks after the announcement.

At the end of October, prepacked sausages slowed down by 15.7 percent, while bacon slid lower at 17 percent after a week the study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer was released. At the start of November, sales were still down at 16.5 percent and 13.9 percent on bacons and sausages, respectively. Other prepacked meat also experienced a downsurge of 10 percent overall. The low sales continued even after last Monday that showed a 15.2 percent and 13.5 percent decrease on bacon and sausage sales, respectively, in comparison with last year's sales report.

Head of IRI's strategic insight-retail Martin Wood said that "While there have been links between certain types of meat and some forms of cancer before, this announcement from a highly respected global body was picked up widely by the media and has had an immediate impact on some people's shopping choices."

"It's interesting that we saw these trends across all of the retailers, not just some," he further stated. "With overall spending on fresh meat and other products such as eggs staying broadly consistent, it suggested shoppers were switching to other meat products."

Furthermore, he continued saying: "What came out of our analysis was that premium products were more affected overall. This may have been down to the credibility and science behind the story that resonated more with educated consumers and led them to make more informed, and possibly more expensive, alternative choices."

"What we may see here is some people making changes to meat buying, moving away from processed meat to non-processed alternatives. This is an opportunity for retailers to look at their ranges and focus on non-processed products, like premium mince and fresh burgers, for example, as well as premium and smoked non-meat products like fish. However, it is still early days."  

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