MLC calls for menu clarity

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The Meat & Livestock Commission (MLC) has warned top pub chains that vague menu descriptions will put customers off ordering meat. Only a...

The Meat & Livestock Commission (MLC) has warned top pub chains that vague menu descriptions will put customers off ordering meat. Only a fraction of branded pub chains list the origin of meat used in their dishes, according to a new report by the MLC. The survey of 84 menus at UK pubs and restaurants revealed only 51 dishes from 7,800 sampled named the source of the produce. This lack of clarity is causing mistrust among consumers, says MLC foodservice trade manager Tony Goodger. The MLC's "Best Practice Guidelines" on labelling the origin of meat on menus were launched last year, encouraging pubs to state the origin of the meat they use in dishes on the menu. Goodger said: "Research shows an increasing number of customers would prefer food service outlets to operate a policy of menu transparency as it demonstrates confidence in the caterer's suppliers." The MLC also criticised menu inconsistency at large pub chains where origin was mentioned only for expensive meat cuts. "It's a little disappointing, but not surprising to see such a low uptake of the MLC guidelines by the branded chains," said Goodger. However, the report did praise independent pubs for "establishing a trust" with customers by extensively labelling the origin of meat used on their menus. Ian Martin, licensee at gastro pub, the Red Cat in Crank, Merseyside, said: "We source our ingredients locally and try to communicate this on our menu. I think the problem is that the large companies can't say where they get their meat from because it would put customers off their food.

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