Glen goes back to nature

The face of Scottish beef has undergone a dramatic transformation in a bid to give the brand fresh impetus.

Glen, the Scotch Beef, has lost his kilt and T-shirt and adopted a more rugged, natural look, to chime with the subtle change in what consumers rate as important when they're shopping for beef.

Quality Meat Scotland decided to make the changes after research found consumers wanted reassurance about the natural quality of Scottish red meat.

QMS head of marketing Laurent Vernet said: "We're constantly carrying out research into consumer attitudes and what we've spotted is that their primary concern, as far as meat is concerned, is reassurance on why they should pay more. They're increasingly interested in buying beef from cattle that are raised naturally and well cared for.

"So we've changed Glen's look to send out a message to them that when they're buying Scotch Beef this is exactly what they're getting - a 100% natural product, complete with unique guarantees on production standards all the way from farmgate to dinner plate."

The new adverts will be launched in London next month, a key target area for Scotch beef sales south of the border. A Scotland-wide campaign will kick off in November in time for St Andrew's day.

The marketing campaign is well-timed to cash in on the increasing consumer demand for premium Scotch Beef, as analysis of GB sales by independent market research company TNS reveals that the brand is bucking the credit crunch.

The amount of Scottish-origin beef sold in GB has increased by 3% in volume terms in the 12-week period to the middle of July, with some 7,078 tonnes, worth over £50m, bought by consumers. That's a 12% increase year-on-year and contrasts with a 6.5% decrease in non-Scottish-origin beef sales south of the border.

Sales figures for Scottish-origin beef show only a slight drop of 1% during the past three months, which compares with an 8% drop for purchases of all beef in Scotland.

Vernet adds: "What our research shows is that people are staying in rather than going out to eat and, when they do, they want to eat the best quality beef.

"Scotch Beef is recognised as a premium product, so when people are shopping for 'entertaining in', they're choosing to buy it rather than cheaper, perhaps lesser-quality meat."

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