Are You Getting Your Portion?

Shopper confused by health advice
Butchers launch MeatBoxes to help shoppers include meat in a balanced diet
TV Chef John Torode supports butchersâ?? campaign

MeatBoxes, containing a week's worth of beef, pork and lamb, were launched today by TV chef John Torode and a group of butchers from across the UK, to show shoppers how much red meat they can enjoy as part of a balanced diet.

Modelled on popular vegetable boxes, each MeatBox will contain a variety of cuts of beef, pork and lamb, adding up to 500g per person per week as well as a series of tasty nutritious recipes. The boxes will be trialled in butchers across the country on Thursday 14 July and rolled out if they prove a hit with customers.

The scheme was launched in response to on-going attacks on red meat and suggestions that people need to cut down the amount they eat. However average weekly consumption in the UK is already around 500g per person, the amount recommended by health charities and government, meaning the majority of people do not need to cut down on red meat.

But new research released by MeatMATTERS, which is working with the butchers to launch MeatBoxes, suggests that consumers are confused by the calls to reduce red meat in their diets. According to the research around 65% of people said they did not have a clear idea of how much meat 500g represents. And 85% thought they should eat red meat just three times a week to avoid exceeding 500g where in fact the actual figure is four or five times based on average portion sizes.

TV Chef and Restaurateur John Torode, who is supporting the campaign said, "This is a brilliant initiative that is really going to help people cooking at home and shopping for their families. It is really difficult, when faced with all of the information out there, to know the best way to shop and I am not surprised that people are confused about what is healthy and what they should be buying. People trust their local butchers and this new, simple idea is really going to make it clear how much red meat people can enjoy as part of a balanced diet. The average person certainly doesn't need to think about cutting down."

TV Nutritionist Amanda Ursell is also supporting the campaign. "Red meat plays a vital role in the diets of the vast majority of people in this country. There is a danger that if people who are already eating around the right amount take heed of the sometimes confusing advice they could lose out on valuable nutrients and minerals such as iron. Too little iron in the diet is also a problem for many women already in this country."

Recipes provided along with the MeatBoxes include Beef Fillet with Vanilla and Basil Ice Cream and Chilli, Honey Blueberries, Roast Lamb with Rosemary, Mint and Ginger Glaze and Oven Baked Piri Piri Burgers with Mediterranean Vegetables.

Six butchers from Burnley, Nottingham, Southampton, London, Newcastle and Nuneaton are taking part in the campaign.

Chris Lamb, spokesperson for MeatMATTERS said, "The Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recently confirmed that the vast majority of people do not need to change their meat-eating habits. We have always encouraged people to eat red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet. But with all the conflicting health advice consumers simply don't know whether they are eating too much or too little. The MeatBoxes initiative is simply designed to give consumers some clarity. The good news is the majority of people have got it about right and don't need to worry."

For more information about the role of red meat and a selection of tasty versatile recipes using pork, beef and lamb visit www.meatmatters.com.