Buying lean red meat is more important to consumers than ever before, according to new research from IGD.

The independent survey commissioned by Quality Meat Scotland reveals that 50% of Scottish consumers check the red meat they are buying is lean - up 15% in four years and overtaking the issues of price and sell-by date for the first time.

Seventy-eight per cent of Scottish shoppers said they bought Scotch Beef, compared with 29% of English shoppers who said they bought English.

And 74% of Scots said they bought their red meat from the supermarket - up 6% on the previous year.

"Consumer attitudes to red meat are constantly evolving," said QMS chairman Donald Biggar. "We need to know what they are thinking so we can feed the right information to marketers."

IGD conducted the research between August and October 2007, interviewing 642 people in Scotland and 780 in England.