In focus-group work, researchers acting for the British Pig Executive found consumers tended to improve the quality of anything in a sandwich except the ham - by buying premium bread, for example. This is significant because sandwiches are the biggest use for ham.
The shoppers, who were questioned in 10 groups of five people, indicated they would be inclined to choose a premium ham if they were using it as a key ingredient in a salad.
BPEX marketing manager Chris Lukehurst said retailers needed to signpost their premium ham ranges better if the sector was to grow.
“What we need to do is tell consumers what it can be used for,” he said. “For example, a premium ham could be sold as a salad ham. At the moment consumers have to find their own way through it all because there’s no signposting.”