Muddy Boots feels warmth on burger sales

The burger sector feels the impact of the weather in the summer months more than any other area of the meat industry.

“We’re going to keep performing our hourly sun dances,” said Miranda Ballard, of independent burger manufacturer Muddy Boots. “We’ve had a 150% sales increase. For us the hot weather in July is almost as good as a promotion; we look for a 100% increase in sales from a promotion and for us, the hot weather has been as good as doing a promo, but with full margins.”

Muddy Boots Real Food was started in December 2008 by Miranda and her husband Roland Ballard and they have since sold around 1.4m burgers.

Although the hot weather has come as a blessing, with forecasters predicting a repeat later this week, Miranda said it is important not to rely on the barbecue season to keep sales strong. She explained that, along with the horsemeat scandal helping to smash sales, promotions are also increasing consumer awareness of the brand, as well as exploring new meat products.

“It’s a risk to think you can sustain sales after barbecue season, because in September, those sales can stop,” she said. “We need to sustain annual sales and it’s foolish for us to think about burgers only. We have lamb burgers, which sell more in the winter and we are thinking about sausages and meatballs.”

But for now, Muddy Boots’ eyes are firmly on pushing sales of burgers in the summer months and playing on the strength of the good weather.“We’ve got a lovely three-for-two promo with Ocado and we have never done that before, but it is punchy,” Miranda said. “What is lovely and very reassuring, is that this offer is flying and shows that consumers are wanting to buy far more.”

What is more, Muddy Boots has also benefited from the horsemeat scandal, as consumers turn increasingly towards fresh, quality processed foods they can trust. But Miranda noted that they and the industry cannot play on the scandal forever, despite it helping them to “smash sales”.

Meat Trades Journal will be taking its Better Burger Campaign to the heart of the Muddy Boots’ business later this month, to see exactly how they operate.

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