CHICKEN may have the rails run in the protein stakes, but the white meat continues to suffer significant hurdles when it comes the contentious issues of cages and hormones.
While Australians will each consume a massive 49/kg of chicken meat this year and sit down an average of 2.2 meals each week, it seems consumers are slow in shifting their thinking.
According to a Consumer Perceptions Study commissioned by the Australian Chicken Meat Federation only 4 per cent of Australians correctly identified that no meat birds were kept in cages.
ACMF executive director Dr Vivien Kite said the study showed that more than 84pc of the 1043 adults sampled believed that at least half of Australia’s meat chickens were raised in cages.
Some 68pc of the sample also believed that hormones were used in chicken meat production, despite not being used in Australia in more than 50 years.
“There is some evidence that understanding around this issue is at last improving,” said.
“For the first time, this recent survey demonstrated a small but significant shift in awareness around the issue of hormones, with less people (68pc) prepared to accept this myth than ever before.” Typically 79-80pc in previous surveys, she said.
The survey showed Australians are eating chicken on average 2.2 times a week, far higher than for any other type of meat. Beef comes in at 26.1kg, 1.6 times a week, pork 46.5kg once a week, and lamb 8kg, 0.9 times in the seven day period.
The appeal of the white meat appeared to be almost universal, with only 4pc of Australians saying that they did not consume the protein.
Chicken was also considered a healthy food choice with 87pc of the sample identifying its protein content and 54pc saying it was low in fat.
Some 90pc of the survey said it was important that their chicken meat was produced in Australia.
“The most common (81pc) reason given for this is they believe we have better quality control and food safety standards in Australia than in other countries,” Dr Kite said.
“69pc said the reason was it is better quality and fresher.”