Can sticking flags in sausages boost domestic consumption? Hungary thinks so

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By Noemi Mrav  & Sandrine Amiel
Can sticking flags in sausages boost domestic consumption? Hungary thinks so
Copyright  MTI/Máthé Zoltán

Hungary has come up with a new strategy to promote domestic meat consumption, essentially consisting of sticking flags in pork cuts.

New legislation that entered into force on Wednesday stipulates all shops, markets, supermarkets and hypermarkets must now label their fresh pork meat with a flag indicating its country of origin.

"Customers want more information about food products because this way, they can make an informed decision," Hungary's Ministry of Agriculture told Euronews in a written statement.

"But our goal is also to promote and popularise domestic food products," the Ministry said.

The process can get cumbersome for butchers and shop managers: If the pork was raised in Austria and cut in Slovakia, both flags will be needed.

MTI/Máthé Zoltán

Packed meat products are not concerned because the country of origin is already mentioned on the plastic package.

Farmers and the Association of Hungarian Meat Industries have welcomed the new policy, hoping it will push consumers to pick Hungarian meat.

But supermarkets say it won't make any difference because they usually offer specific cuts of pork meat from only one country at a time -- they will order Hungarian pork shoulders only after running out of the Slovakian ones, for instance.

"The ministry will evaluate the experiences and feedback and will consider extending the law to other meats as well," authorities told Euronews.

In 2018, Hungary produced 583,000 tonnes of pork to cut, according to the Ministry.