Despite expectations retail deflation will continue in the coming months, there are growing long-term opportunities for red meat sales.
One of the main themes at Quality Meat Scotland’s Building Business Quality marketing conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday was about consumers looking to eat fresh red meat products, but needing convenient and easy meals to cook which fit in with their lifestyles.
Michael Freedman, senior shopper insight manager at global food researcher IGD, reported food prices had have fallen 5.1 per cent from February 2014.
Kantar Worldpanel’s Nathan Ward said declining red meat sales were influenced by an increase in convenience shopping and people looking to spend less, but suggested red meat could benefit from growth in this area.
He said: “The real growth [in retail] is not from main products, it is from solutions. It is not just about something being quick to cook, it is about it being quick to prepare and [easy to] put in the microwave.
“People have a real desire to eat quality products, [but] they just do not have time.”
It was a similar theme discussed by Mr Freedman during his address. He said it was important to understand what ‘quality’ meant to shoppers and agreed with suggestions some would be looking carefully at issues, including product welfare and ethics, in addition to safety.
“One of the groups we have identified is food adventurers,” he said. “They are far more engaged in welfare and ethics and may ask ask questions about how products get from farm to fork. But for London and other shoppers, this is not on the agenda.
“It is about arranging needs by shoppers. In a market where we are seeing more focus on quality, you need to get the message across about why consumers must spend more on a quality cut of meat.”
He said this was great news for brands including Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.
Discussing changes in the retail sector, Mr Freedman also highlighted the opportunities for farmers, claiming there could be increased opportunities for butchers and farmers’ markets in retail superstores.
Katherine Shade, Kantar Worldpanel client manager, added there were growth opportunities for the premium end of the beef market.
“Premium is a good place to be at the moment. Premium markets are up 7 per cent in the beef market and have grown 17 per cent year-on-year,” she said.