Scotland’s red meat producers and retailers must leverage the relationships built during the Covid-19 pandemic according to Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) board member Louise Welsh.
Formerly on the agriculture team at Morrisons and currently a board member of Food Standards Scotland, she believes the consumer trends which have emerged in recent months can be used to build future meat sales.
She said: “During the pandemic, the nation started shopping differently almost overnight, many choosing to buy more locally or online to avoid the crowds.
“We saw a new appreciation of food and where it comes from as fear of a lack of simple food stuffs sparked a new respect for it.
“My abiding memory of lockdown will be the nation’s relationship with food, and the trusted connections built with its producers and retailers whether these were over the counter or on social media.
“These relationships are the perfect platform for those selling quality Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork to harness some of the very relevant consumer trends emerging.”
Some trends have been accelerated, such as conscious buying of sustainably-produced, local food and eating for health, immunity and nutrition.
Restaurant-style cooking at home had become popular as people have had time to cook from scratch, or are seeking affordable luxuries in the absence of meals out and holidays.
All these trends are anticipated to continue for the foreseeable future.
A recent survey, carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Scotch Lamb PGI, not only showed that 36 per cent were buying more locally and 60 per cent of the population still intend to buy local in the future, but that 62 per cent are more conscious of where their meat comes from and traceability.
“This is reassuring as we wade through a treacly Brexit deal where there has been concern about food standards,” Ms Welsh added.
“If our primary producers have to compete with cheaper imports from other countries, the USP of meat
produced in the UK, its welfare standards, and its assurance schemes may become more important than ever.”