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Survey of Trader Joe’s Shoppers on Antibiotics and Meat

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Consumer Reports National Research Center

Survey of Trader Joe’s Shoppers on Antibiotics and Meat

July 2013

In late May/early June of 2013, the Consumer Reports National Research Center polled 1,120 California residents who bought meat and/or poultry at Trader Joe’s or other supermarkets to explore their attitudes about buying and consuming meat raised with and without antibiotics, and about Trader Joe’s policies in this area.  Forty percent of those polled bought their meat at Trader Joe’s at least some of the time, while the remainder shopped for meat at other stores.

Respondents were informed that antibiotics are being used in feed to promote growth in livestock and to help animals tolerate crowded living conditions on the farm. Concern about meat raised on antibiotics was high among all shoppers polled, but Trader Joe’s meat shoppers consistently showed more concern than those who purchased meat at other stores.

  • A total of 90 percent of Trader Joe’s shoppers strongly or somewhat agreed that consumers should be able to buy meat and poultry raised without antibiotics at their local supermarket, versus 81 percent of other store shoppers.
  • A total of 87 percent of Trader Joe’s shoppers strongly or somewhat agreed that supermarkets and meat suppliers should work together to avoid giving food animals antibiotics unless they are sick, compared to 79 percent of other store shoppers.
  • Indeed, 69 percent of Trader Joe’s shoppers said they agreed strongly or somewhat that supermarkets selling meat raised with antibiotics were doing a disservice to their consumers, compared to 56 percent of other store shoppers.
  • Only 30 percent of Trader Joe shoppers indicated that they strongly or somewhat agreed that price is more important than antibiotic use in their meat consumption, and about the same number (34 percent) of other store shoppers felt this way.

Trader Joe’s was perceived as a company that is socially responsible in terms of public health and environmental issues, particularly by its own shoppers.  Of those with opinions, a total of 95 percent of Trader Joe’s meat shoppers strongly or somewhat agreed that Trader Joes’s is a company that avoids products that may harm public health or the environment.  By contrast, 76 percent of meat shoppers at other stores thought of their store in this way.

Trader Joe’s current policies on meat and antibiotics are not well understood by its customers however, and cause significant concern. When asked, only 23 percent of Trader Joe’s meat shoppers were aware that Trader Joe’s sells meat raised on antibiotics.  When asked how concerned they were about the store’s policy, 72 percent of Trader Joe’s meat shoppers said they had some level of concern, including 16 percent that indicated they were extremely concerned.  A total of 78 percent of Trader Joe’s shoppers strongly or somewhat agreed that they would prefer to shop at a supermarket that ONLY sells no-antibiotics meat, compared to 64 percent of other store shoppers.

When asked about whether Trader Joe’s should stop selling meat and poultry from animals raised with antibiotics, 69 percent of Trader Joe’s meat shoppers agreed that this is what they should do (including 39% who strongly agreed).  Only 17 percent disagreed (14 percent didn’t know or had no opinion).