Meat & Livestock Australia is spruiking the importance of red meat plays in a healthy diet to mark World Iron Awareness week.
The annual campaign, taking place from August 28 to September 3, aims to highlight the importance of adequate iron intake and its impact on global health, while promoting Australian beef, lamb and goatmeat.
According to new consumer sentiment research from MLA, 73 per cent of Australians see red meat as an important source of nutrition, with 58pc noting it being a rich source of iron as the main health reason for consuming beef and lamb.
The same research notes that only 5pc of Australians consider themselves vegetarian, down from 7pc last year, but of that group 55pc say they will eat meat or fish on occasion.
MLA managing director Jason Strong said red meat is an essential source of iron, but many people, particularly women, do not currently get enough of it in their diet.
"Red meat is a crucial component of a balanced diet, especially for individuals with higher dietary iron needs," he said.
"Its haem iron content allows for more efficient absorption, helping to reduce risk of iron deficiency and other associated health issues."
"As one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, iron deficiency affects many people around the globe, particularly women and children.
"This World Iron Awareness Week we're encouraging consumers across the world to make informed dietary choices and incorporate red meat responsibly and sustainably, ensuring they reap the maximum health benefits."
MLA is conducting a series of events, social media campaigns, and outreach programs during World Iron Awareness Week across international markets including the USA, Japan and Southeast Asia, while also launching a website to promote the importance of iron in a healthy diet.
Mr Strong said with 76pc of Gen Z using social media as their main source for news and current affairs according to Deloitte, social media plays a vital role in promoting red meat.
"We also know that know that 69pc of Aussies have purchased a product recommended by an influencer and 94pc of Millennials say they are more likely to trust the opinion of an influencer over friends and family," he said.
"So, while we have not used social media influencers in the World Iron Awareness Week campaign, MLA programs such as Australian Good Meat use social media influencers to connect with a younger audience of active users who are influenced by people who create content in areas, they are interested in.
"We choose individuals who create content that our audience is connecting with as this provides us with a credible line of communication to provide balance to the discussion about our industry."
Mr Strong said MLA has been tracking community sentiment towards red meat and the industry for 14 years, and over the past few years, the body had seen a declining number of people say they are concerned about eating red meat due to health reasons.
"It is estimated that Australian's average red meat consumption is around 57 grams per day, which is within the recommendation from the Australian Dietary Guidelines of 65 grams per day," he said.
"While some may have concerns about the volume of red meat being consumed, the facts are that the average consumption is within the dietary guidelines, and per capita consumption is lower than it was a decade or so ago."
Research shows iron consumption levels are lower in emerging market like Vietnam, the Phillipines and Indonesia compared to markets like the US and Australia.
The markets with lower average consumption tend to have younger populations with a growing middle class, with meat consumption, and therefore iron consumption, forecast to increase in these markets over the next three to five years.
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