Convenience key to Scottish red meat industry

The Scottish red meat industry has been urged to give the consumer what they want through their products. 

That was the message at Quality Meat Scotland’s (QMS) Marketing Conference at the Norton House Hotel in Edinburgh, on Wednesday 27 January.

Customers, now more than ever, are on the look-out for convenience and quality-assured products. “If we ignore consumers, there’s no hope for the industry,” stated QMS’ conference chair Laurent Vernet.

He told delegates than an important way of staying relevant was to produce products that appeal to shoppers’ demands. To help achieve this, QMS unveiled its ‘Wham Bam Thank You Lamb’ campaign last year in an effort to promote lamb as a modern and versatile meat.

“Everything is based on consumer research; what the consumer wants to hear, what they expect behind the brand, what they want when they buy lamb,” added Vernet.

“It is very much asking the consumer. If we want to stick with the consumer, if we want to keep the market, we need to be able to deliver what the consumer wants.”

The campaign aimed to prove that lamb “is not an old fashioned piece of meat”, and that it can be used to produce “exciting” dishes such as burgers and meatballs.

Other guest speakers included Michael Freedman, senior shopper insight manager at the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).

The food and grocery research and training charity conducted research on what consumers want from red meat on behalf of QMS. It was revealed that a product’s quality indicators for shoppers included quality assurance schemes, like the ones behind the Scotch Beef PGI brand.

“More than six out of 10 British shoppers (62%) are willing to pay more for higher-quality fresh meat,” explained Freedman.

“Two-thirds (66%) of Scottish shoppers say they expect fresh red meat with a quality assurance logo to guarantee that it is meat that they can trust. Seventy-three per cent of Scottish consumers would also agree that a guarantee of higher welfare is a reason to pay more for fresh meat.”

Freedman noted that eight out of 10, or 78%, claimed that Scotch Beef was a trend that they trusted. The reputation that this brand holds has been carried over to south of the border. “The strength of trust in the brand is also evident in London where seven in 10 of those who buy Scotch Beef in London trust the brand,” he concluded.

Following Freedman, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, Katie Shade, discussed red meat trends taking place in Great Britain. She focused on the position that roast cuts, steaks and mince hold in people’s consumption habits.

She said that steak has an advantage over mince in terms of the personalisation of the cut; whereas mince can be created into several different dishes, steak can be cooked and seasoned to the consumer’s personal preference.

According to Kantar’s research, on average people are spending only 30 minutes preparing dinner, compared to 60 minutes in the 1980s.

One way to justify the higher price for premium red meat is to market it is as healthy and convenient.

“There is still a real opportunity for the Scottish red meat industry to grow through the offer of a premium mince to British consumers,” said Shade.

“This would also target younger families in the category and could effectively help to premiumise the high volume side of the market in terms of forequarter product, such as mince.”

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