Quality and education important for butchers, says futurologist

Butchers and farm shops should focus on quality not quantity, while providing a premium and educational service, according to leading food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye.

Gaye studies food trends and predicts what will become popular among consumers in the future; this week she spoke at the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC in Birmingham about her work.

Talking to meatinfo.co.uk at the exhibition, the futurologist said consumers were looking for quality over quantity from butchers now, and that shops should move away from concentrating on price.

Grass-fed is also a huge trend, according to Gaye, and butchers should embrace this. She said: “Consumers are saying ‘I’ll pay a bit more if I know about the quality of the meat, and that the husbandry and life of the animal have been really valued’.”

Gaye suggested that, due to a rise in veganism, quality is vital as meat becomes more valued and questioned: “People are now doing these trade-offs like ‘Meat-Free Monday’. They’re starting to question what their meat is and where it’s from, so I really think it’s important that if you’re selling meat, to talk about quality, to talk about the life of the animal and not price, as price is what the low-cost supermarkets are talking about.”

She added that consumers were becoming increasingly interested in learning about meat and the cuts that came from an animal, and that butchers were well placed to start re-educating consumers.

“Consumers are more interested now in understanding what they can do with cuts. It’s all very well saying ‘nose-to-tail’ eating, but actually most people don’t know what to do with the nose or the tail.

“It’s really fantastic if someone can start re-educating – whether that’s just from their own shop where they start selling ‘Cut of the Week’, and it’s something like oxtail, with a recipe card. Things like that will really hit the point right now,” she explained.

Gaye told meatinfo.co.uk that it was also important for butchers to get into technology, to create apps that show information about the meat cuts and how to use them, and a digital interface that keeps a relationship with the consumer.

The food futurologist will be the keynote speaker at the innovation conference: New Frontiers in Food and Drink, on 26 June, organised by Meat Trades Journal and sister publications Food Manufacture, The Grocer and British Baker. Go to http://www.newfrontiersinfoodanddrink.co.uk/ for more information.

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