The importance of origin as a quality attribute for beef: results from a Scottish consumer survey


CorrespondenceJohn Bower, Department of Food and Consumer Studies, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK. E-mail:


Perception of country of origin and purchasing habits for beef were examined for urban and rural Scottish consumers. Origin was identified as being as important as intrinsic quality cues of colour and leanness, with rural consumers giving more weight to origin than urban ones. Most consumers interpreted ‘Scotch Beef’ and ‘British Meat’ label logos as evidence that the beef animals were ‘born, raised and slaughtered in Scotland or Britain’ respectively. The logos were taken as indicators of quality and safety. Both urban and rural respondents had higher agreement levels with Scotch beef as a safer, higher quality and more expensive commodity than British meat. Rural consumers made more use of butcher shops for purchase, but both groups sought butcher beef for quality reasons and supermarket sources because of convenience.