Despite industry and government efforts to manage the controversy, concerns about so-called “pink slime” in the nation’s beef supply are influencing decisions about what they buy and eat, says a new poll from Red Robin® restaurants, a leading casual-dining brand, recently conducted online by Harris Interactive among over 2,000 U.S adults age 18 and older.
After receiving hundreds of guest inquiries at Red Robin’s headquarters and in many of the company’s 460+ restaurants in North America, Red Robin, which has never served beef containing the ingredient, enlisted Harris Interactive, Inc. to conduct a poll on the “pink slime” issue.
In the study commissioned by Red Robin, 88% of U.S. adults are aware of the “pink slime” issue. Among those who were aware, when asked, “How concerned are you about the filler used in ground beef referred to in news stories as ‘pink slime’?,” 76% indicated that they were “at least somewhat concerned,” with 30% stating they were “extremely concerned.” Also, more than half (53%) of those saying they were aware of the issue took some action as a result, including researching the brands of ground beef they purchase at the grocery store and/or researching the ground beef used by restaurant brands where they eat (24%). 22% said they’ve either decreased and/or stopped altogether their consumption of foods using ground beef in restaurants, and 25% said they’ve either decreased and/or stopped altogether their purchases of ground beef from grocery stores.
“Red Robin has had to repeatedly assure our guests that we have never purchased or served beef containing the so-called ‘pink slime,’” said Steve Carley, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers chief executive officer. “While this kind of processed beef has been used for many years, the Harris Interactive poll shows that consumer fears are very real, and they’re not ready to let them just fade away. This underscores that our industry simply must do a better job of communicating the facts, educating consumers and regaining consumer trust in the quality of the food they buy. At Red Robin, we’ll continue to assure our guests that the quality of the food we buy and serve is a top priority.”
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