It’s been a flat year for bacon rashers, but joints and chops have had a better time, with value sales rising 7% and 8% respectively, according to TNS. Steaks, though, have not fared so well, with sales down 1%.
On the ground, however, there are reports conflicting with these figures. In fact, Asda’s bacon buyer Paul Armstrong says that in his company’s case, quite the reverse is true.
“We have had a brilliant year on steaks, but it has been at the expense of joints.
“It’s very difficult, because the younger generation just don’t understand joints.”
Armstrong says the problems with joints aren’t specific to Asda. “It’s a market problem. And I think that problem is the way they are presented. You’ve got an 8lb joint, covered in a
layer of fat and vacuum packed. Compare that visually with a 5lb joint of fresh pork, cleanly butchered and packaged in a nice pod.
“There is some work to do on the way we present joints. We’ve been vacuum packing them for years, and the market has moved on.”
Grampian Country Food Group’s marketing controller for bacon Nigel Glendinning says his company is planning a major drive next year to boost sales of non-rasher bacon products. At the heart of this will be a Christmas promotion offering shoppers buying bacon joints for the festive period money off gammon products bought in January and February.
He also hopes to work with retailers on where in-store joints and steaks are sold. He would prefer to see them sold with other primary meats rather than bacon so that they are presented to people while they are in joint-buying mode.
But Armstrong says Asda tried this to no avail. “We have done trials when we moved bacon joints in with other joints of meat, but it didn’t make any difference.”