Are US chicken labels confusing?

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers say the jargon used on US poultry labelling is perplexing, according to the study
Consumers say the jargon used on US poultry labelling is perplexing, according to the study

Related tags Meat Chicken Poultry

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are left scratching their heads over the perceived ambiguity of poultry labelling, according to a new UK survey.

Business intelligence firm ORC International has found 62% of American consumers find current poultry labelling and packaging confusing and struggle to determine basic information about the product.

To offset the confusion a high percentage of US consumers are reported to face, the US-based National Chicken Council (NCC) has announced a new labelling glossary to provide an easy-to-understand description of commonly-used poultry labelling terms.

It provides fact-based descriptions on terms like ‘antibiotics claim’, ‘retained water’, ‘enhanced’ and ‘farm raised’ – all common poultry labelling terms that use language regulated by the US Department of Agriculture.

Chicken Label Glossary National Chicken Council (US) 1

Improved insight

The new glossary is part of the NCC’s Chicken Check In initiative. This project was set up to offer American consumers an insight into the end-to-end production of poultry, helping to build awareness of how billions of chickens end up on the plates of meat-eating US consumers every year.

According to the NCC, the new glossary will help confused chicken consumers gain further understanding about the bird, how it was fed, housed, raised and treated post-slaughter.

We believe in giving the consumer choices in the type of chicken they want,​” said NCC spokesperson Tom Super in a statement. “However, what this research shows is that the terms used for those choices can be confusing. This glossary addresses that confusion and arms the consumer with the information they need to continue choosing safe, affordable and healthy chicken.​”

The push for clearer labelling on meat products seems to be part of a wider global push to simplify meat packaging claims. Earlier this week, Australian organic meat company Cleaver’s redesigned its labelling​ to help consumers understand the humane way it believes its meat is produced.

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