According to "Monitoring consumer markets in the European Union", a survey carried out for the Directorate-General Health and Consumers of the European Commission DG SANCO, the meat and meat products market's performance is relatively mediocre compared to the other 20 surveyed goods markets. With a score of 98.4, the meat and meat products markets performs a lot better than the lowest ranked goods market (second hand cars – 91.8), but in the overall ranking this market is placed in the lowest range (18th out of 21). The position of the meat and meat products market in 2011 is close to the position in 2010.
In 2011, the second wave of the European consumer markets monitoring survey asked consumers in the 27 EU member states about the performance of 51 consumer markets. This survey is a key component of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard yielding information on consumer markets in terms of prices, trust, switching, consumer complaints, consumer safety and satisfaction.
Analysis per Component
A closer analysis of the components of this market shows that:
- Comparability: The average score for the meat and meat products market on the component of comparability is 7.4 in 2011. The score for this market is 0.2 points higher than in 2010, but at the same time it is 0.2 points lower than the average score of 7.6 for all the goods markets.
- Trust: The average score of 6.8 on the trust-component is relatively good. Not only did the average score increase by 0.2 points compared to 2010, but also equals the overall average score for all the goods markets. In 2010, the average level of trust in the meat and meat products market when it comes to respecting the rules and regulations protecting consumers was 0.2 points lower than the average score for all the goods markets. Compared to the other surveyed markets, trust in the meat and meat products market definitely increased over the last year.
- Live up to what you wanted?: Although the average score of 7.5 on this component increased by almost 0.1 points in comparison to 2010, this score is 0.3 points lower than the average score for all goods markets on this component. In 2010 the average score of 7.4 was 0.2 points lower than the average score for all products markets.
- Problems: The percentage of consumers encountering problems in 2011 with meat and meat products is very close to the percentage in 2010 (7.5% in 2011 versus 7.4% in 2010). The proportion of consumers encountering problems in this market is also comparable to the overall average proportion of consumers encountering problems in the surveyed goods markets (7.6%).
- Complaints: About three-quarters (76.7%) of consumer encountering problems complained about their problem(s), mainly to the retailer or the provider (62.8%) and friends or family (23.3%). In 2010, 71% of consumers experiencing problems with the meat and meat products market complained, which is about 6 percentage points less than in 2011. Moreover, only 54% of the discontent consumers in 2010 complained to the retailer or the provider. The proportion of dissatisfied consumers complaining about the meat and meat products market is a little lower than the proportion of complaining consumers for all goods markets (76.7% versus 79.4%).
- Competition: The market for meat and meat products gets an average score of 8.0 on the competition component. This is 0.2 points below the overall average for all goods markets on this component.
The normalised MPI (Market Performance Indicator; indicates to what extent a given market brings the desired outcome to consumers) is considerably lower in the EU12 countries than in the EU15 countries (94.5 versus 101.4). In addition, the difference between the EU12 and the EU15 increased during last year. The MPI-score of the EU15 increased by 0.4 points and the score of the EU12 countries decreased by 1.0 points. The increase in the EU15 is due to an increase in a number of countries such as Denmark ( 4.1), Germany ( 3.6) and France ( 2.7). The increase in Denmark in 2011 might be the result of a recovery of a recent discredit in the Danish meat and meat products market: frauds on the best before dates of meat were uncovered in Denmark in 2009 and 2010.
The five best scoring countries in the meat and meat products market are the UK, Finland, Malta, Ireland and Slovenia. Especially for the latter the ranking jumped six places due to an increase in the normalised MPI by 1.6 points. Germany made the most significant upward movement in the ranking (from position 16 to 6). The five lowest scoring countries for the meat and meat products market are Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia. None of the member states dropped more than 10 positions in the ranking. The difference between the best scoring country (the UK) and the worst scoring country (Bulgaria) is 16.9 points in the normalised MPI, which is way above the average difference of 13.1 for all goods markets. Noteworthy is that the score of Bulgaria is 5 points lower than Romania?s second lowest score. This means that the differences between countries need to betaken into account in the evaluation of overall performance of the market at EU27 level as the overall figure conceals considerable variation across the EU.
The different components
- Comparability: Countries with the highest scores on the comparability component are Greece, Ireland, the UK (all 7.7), Austria, Finland and Germany (7.6). The countries with the lowest scores on this component are Denmark (6.9) and especially Bulgaria (6.3). In most of the countries, the average score for this component increased. Despite the low score in Denmark, the average score for this component saw the second highest increase ( 0.8). In Cyprus the score for comparability increased the most ( 1.2). Only in the Czech Republic (-0.5), Bulgaria (-0.4), Spain (-0.2) and Italy (-0.2) did the score drop slightly.
- Trust: Malta, France and Germany all have an average of more than 7.5 on this component. For the latter, this is an increase of 1.3 points compared to 2010. This is by far the highest increase across all countries. Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Lithuania all have an average of below 5.5. A difference of more than 3 points is observed between the highest average score (Malta 7.7) and the lowest score (Bulgaria 4.5). This indicates that the differences between the EU27 countries for the trust component are very significant, even more than in 2010. Last year the difference between the highest score (also Malta with 7.8) and the lowest score (also Bulgaria with 5.1) was 2.7 points.
- „Live up to what you wanted?: Malta, Finland and the UK have an average of above 8.0 and are the countries with the highest scores on this scale. Bulgaria, Romania and Poland all have a score below 7.0 and are the countries with the lowest scores on this component. Between 2010 and 2011, the scores for this component remain very similar in most countries.
- Problems: The proportion of consumers encountering problems with the meat and meat product market is the highest in Romania (14.6%), Slovakia (14.5%), Bulgaria (12.0%), Poland (11.7%), Lithuania (10.5%) and Hungary (10.4%). With the exception of Poland, one can note a positive evolution for all these countries. The lowest proportions of consumers encountering problems can be found in the Netherlands (2.6%), Slovenia (3.2%), Spain (3.6%), Finland (3.7%) and the UK (3.7%). In comparison with 2010, the proportion of dissatisfied consumers decreased the most in Slovenia (-6.7), Denmark (-6.0), Latvia (-5.5) and Cyprus (-5.4). The proportion of consumers encountering problems increased the most in Germany ( 3.3).
- Complaints: Although only 2.6% of Dutch consumers encountered problems with the meat and meat products market, they all complained about these problems. This is an important rise in complaints for the Netherlands ( 52.2 points compared to 2010). Also in Malta (90.9%), Italy (88.5%), and Germany (85.7%), more than 85% of consumers encountering problems complained. In Greece (44.1%), Lithuania (54.7%) and Luxemburg (57.1%), less than 60% of dissatisfied consumers complained. However, it should be noted that the base of analysis (consumers who have experienced problems) is low and therefore the results should be taken as indicative.
- Competition: Bulgaria and Italy (both 7.4) obtain the lowest score for choice of retailers for meat and meat products. In Malta (9.1), followed by Cyprus, Slovenia and Hungary (all 8.8), the consumers of this market give the highest rating for the choice in retailers.
May 2012/ Monitoring consumer markets in the European Union/ European Commission/ European Union.