EBLEX is doing research on developing fifth quarter trade, and hopes to have something to present to the industry in three months, Richard Ali, chief executive of the beef and lamb marketing group told delegates at the AIMS Conference.
Research was being carried out into specifications for selling offals, for example, into European markets. Professor David Hughes had earlier outlined how important the trade in fifth quarter products was in the southern hemisphere where stores trading under a local name but owned by retailers like Tesco were selling popular products like bones and feet.
The research was mentioned as part of a q&a session at the conference where Ali also expressed disappointment with the attitude of some independent butchers to marketing. A number had not taken up the EBLEX offer of free marketing material. Some independent retailers had to recognise that the days when the same people walked through their door every week had gone. He cited one case where he had gone into a shop to be confronted with virtually empty cabinets despite plenty of stock in the back of store.
Earlier, Ali had set out changes and trends in the market for beef and lamb that were important for the abattoir sector. These included the emergence of new entrepreneurial market sectors where new brands were being developed in farm shops, farmers markets and through direct sales. Organic was also growing, albeit from a small base, he said.
Contrary to what many perceive as the dominance of large abattoirs he pointed out that small and medium size plants account for 45% of the English cattle kill and 70% of sheep slaughterings in England.