NI red meat consumption stable, but concern for female groups

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Red meat is a good source of zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, magnesium and potassium iStock credit Elio Ruscetta
Red meat is a good source of zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, magnesium and potassium iStock credit Elio Ruscetta

Related tags: Supply chain, Meat & Seafood

People in Northern Ireland are continuing to eat red and processed meats, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), citing National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data.

The survey, which captures nationally representative data on food consumption, has looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diet and physical activity of UK consumers. 

The report noted that there were no significant differences in mean consumption of total meat between previous assessments and this study, across all ages and genders. In addition, red and processed meat consumption was within the recommended nutrient intake (70g per day) for adults, with a mean consumption of 66g per day for men aged 19-94 years.


However, when it comes to micronutrients the NDNS report returned a mixed picture. Mean iron intakes from food in this study were below the reference nutrient intake and described as 'concerningly low' for two female age groups: girls aged 11-18 years old and women aged 19-64 years old. 

Young girls were reported as only getting 54% of the reference nutrient intake, survey commentary speculated could be a huge contributing factor for increased rates of diagnosed Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA), the deficiency of in quality or quantity of haemoglobin, in the UK. 

LMC said that red meat, among other animal proteins was a good source of many other micronutrients including zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, magnesium and potassium which were just not available in alternative proteins. 

Red meat 

“The correlation between red meat, zinc and immune functioning is scientifically proven and it is encouraging to see consumers actioning this,”​ said LMC marketing and communications manager, Lauren Patterson.

“The statistics published in this report clearly show consumers appreciation for good honest food, especially during a pandemic and reinforces the fact that red meat plays an important role as part of a healthy balanced diet.

"It is also pleasing to see that red meat consumption in the UK is within the recommended guidelines, and we can focus on encouraging consumers to continue choosing Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef and lamb, as a world class product.”

COVID-19 brought about many lifestyle changes, with the NDNS report highlighting that since the start of the pandemic 59% of households reported that they had cooked at home more. 

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