New trends in packaging are helping consumers try new meats and creating more sales writes Chloe Ryan
Employers could be forgiven for lacking sympathy with an employee who returns from a holiday complaining they were sick while on annual leave, so they could not properly enjoy it particularly if they are sporting a suspiciously healthy-looking tan.
The demonisation of meat occurred simultaneously with the public health dietary advice to "base our meals on starchy foods" and obesity has increased tenfold since. Here are seven facts in the defence of meat to help the industry fight the "nutritional ignorance" that currently abounds.
This time last year, the biggest problem for the pork sector was the divergence between volume and value, with supermarket promotions blamed for poor returns to producers. Twelve months on and the same tension between retailers and producers exists, but Kantar Worldpanel data reveals that the amount of pork sold on promotion has fallen by 6% year-on-year. This has brought a reversal of the recent trend for volume to outstrip value, with volume declining by 0.4% while value rose 6.1% in the 52 weeks to 10 June 2012, bringing the total market value to £935m.
Earlier this year, a report from the NPD Group/Crest revealed that pig meat was the fastest-growing meat in foodservice, with total servings up 8.1% year-on-year in 2011. Although the biggest growth was in seen in bacon, which increased by 29.5%, and sausages, up by 21.3%, pork also saw solid growth of 4.6%. This reflected an increasing appreciation of pork's value for money among chefs, who are improving returns by buying in whole pig carcases and experimenting with a wider range of cuts such as collar, trotters and cheeks.
Times are tough for large abattoirs, with profitability and supply both hard to come by. But a more positive picture is emerging for flexible, smaller slaughterhouses and the whole sector is collectively exhaling following the government's rejection of full cost recovery for meat inspection.
With improved market returns and sheep numbers finally recovering after months of decline, the Welsh meat industry could be described as relatively buoyant. But there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of the sector, with high input costs, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and a financially troubled eurozone putting pressure on farmers and processors.
The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics will offer some big opportunities for businesses supplying meat into London. It is estimated that the Games will generate a £750m increase in spending, the majority of which will be in the food and hospitality sector. However, with 37 venues across London and an estimated 20m spectators expected on top of normal London traffic, they could also prove to be a logistical nightmare.
Earlier this year, a US company took bacon enthusiasm to a new extreme with the launch of a new bacon coffin, complete with bacon shading finish and a bacon air freshener “for those who love bacon to death”. The coffin was the latest in a line of bacon-related products that have hit the market of late, including bacon lip balm, bacon soap, bacon perfume and bacon jam. Bacon, it appears, is the new big thing and Twitter is awash with odes to bacon sandwiches.
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