Thursday, 20 January, 2022

Some prepared beef dishes hardly contain any

Ravioli with barely 4% beef… while others contain 37%! In its latest investigation, the consumer association CLCV looked at 156 products made from beef, private labels, hard discount brands or national brands, and scrutinized their labels. Result: the quantity of beef contained is extremely variable for products that are nevertheless similar. A big gap which sometimes goes from simple to quintuple in the same category. As with ravioli, lasagna also has extremely variable contents from one product to another: 5% for the lowest and 26.6% for the highest.

On average, mince has the most beef (19.7%), almost twice as much of ravioli (11.1% on average) and other meat pasta (11%). But canned ravioli contain almost half the meat of the ravioli found in the fresh section. And the proportion of meat obviously varies from one product to another even within the same category of products in the same shelf, as shown by the data presented by the CLCV in the appendix of its survey. If we focus, for example, on the shepherd’s pie from the fresh section, the proportion of meat varies from 12.4% for the Parmentier with carrots and beef with shallots from Fleury Michon to 18% for two other products of the same brand. (Le Parmentier – Limousin beef and grilled Emmental hash parmentier) or for the pure beef parmentier hash from Côté Table (from the Repère de Leclerc brand), passing through the Leader Price shepherd’s pie (14.8% for the product of 900 grams and 15.3% for that of 300 grams), 17.2% for the Traiteur selection sold at Auchan and 17.8% for the shepherd’s pie puree with Marie’s crème fraîche.

But beware, points out the CLCV, the quantity of meat present in a product is not really correlated with its price: on average, frozen pie has more meat than the fresh section while their price is almost half the price. high… “Some organic products, such as canned ravioli, contain less meat than non-organic products while they cost twice as much”, also notes the CLCV in its survey.

“It’s the lottery” as for the quantity of meat, regrets the association.

A situation with extremely variable geometry even though meat is consumed more and more by the French through processed products, sandwiches, hamburgers but also prepared meals. According to a recent study by Credoc, the share of meat products in this product category accounted for “25% of acts of consumption of meat products in 2007, it rose to 30% in 2016.”

“70% of the dishes contain added sugar and 75% of the flavors”

But if the CLCV calls on professionals “to increase the percentage of meat used in their recipes”, it also encourages them to show more clarity on the labels, on this quantity of course but also on the origin of the meat – by specifying for example the country when the mention simply indicates “European Union” or by standardizing the logos for meat of French origin – and to commit to the Nutri-Score, the labeling (optional) launched in November 2017, which classifies foods according to their nutritional quality.

And this is another concern of the CLCV: the nutritional quality and the composition of the products. “70% of the dishes contain added sugar and 75% of the flavors”, she notes in her survey, adding that “for the consumer, it is difficult to find products without texturizers, flavors, or other additives”. The use of additives in processed or even ultra-processed products was, moreover, one of the focal points of the National Assembly’s Commission of Inquiry on Industrial Food. In its report delivered at the end of September, the committee recommended the establishment of a “strategy aimed at developing industrial practices for the use of additives” with the objective of reducing by 2025 the number of additives used at 48 – those authorized in organic food – against 338 authorized today. Concerns about the composition of products which join those of the French and which affect food products, well beyond beef products.

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