New research shows almost three-quarters of Kiwis agree that red meat is good for their health and nutrition, with only 7 per cent disagreeing.
The consumer research was conducted by Colmar Brunton on behalf of Beef + Lamb New Zealand. The data was collected in early November.
This overwhelming recognition for the nutrition credentials of red meat coincided with the release of The Role of Red Meat in Healthy and Sustainable New Zealand Diets report, produced for Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Head of Nutrition Fiona Windle said she was pleased that the substantial body of evidence supporting sensible consumption of red meat was recognised by the vast majority of the public.
"The role red meat plays in the diets of Kiwis has received plenty of consideration over recent years. The aim of this report is to provide a New Zealand-centric, peer-reviewed summary of the evidence to help inform and bring balance to a discourse that has too often become binary and, at times, unconstructive in its attempt to charter a pragmatic path forward. It is so encouraging to see so many of us feel good about eating red meat."
The Role of Red Meat in Healthy and Sustainable New Zealand Diets report is a fourth evolution of a piece of work that has been underpinning Beef + Lamb New Zealand's nutrition work for 20 years.
Contributors and reviewers of the report – who collectively have well over a century of expertise between them - have assessed the current body of evidence relating to nutrition and environment, and the interfacing areas of food systems and sustainable nutrition, when it comes to New Zealand beef and lamb.
Professor Derrick Moot an agricultural expert from Lincoln University said: "In New Zealand, at least 90 per cent of our land cannot be farmed for crops, making our pasture-fed system unique in the global context."
"Often our voice is lost in the global conversation around food production systems, however we know that overseas academics are looking to learn from us and how we have embraced our environmental challenges."
"Unlike the rest of the world, our animals spend their whole lives outside – 365 days a year. Not only that, but we are close to being carbon neutral, making New Zealand a leader in carbon sequestration. Our production systems are as natural as we can get right now. We are good at agriculture and need to be proud of that."
Other interesting conclusions drawn from the consumer research included close to two-thirds of Kiwis stating that red meat was an excellent source of both iron and protein.
However, it was the functional benefits the nutrients in red meat contributed that New Zealanders have less awareness of.
Windle encouraged people to read the report "and look at the hundreds of studies supporting this position."
Read a summary of the report below. The full report can be found here.