Beef levy body Eblex is launching a marketing push in a bid to revive the declining casserole meat category.

Inconsistent cuts of braising meat and ­confusing packaging were fuelling a 14.3% year-on-year volume drop in the £300m category, Eblex said. Consumers being unsure about the best meat to use in a ­casserole, and how to cook it, was also a key driversin the “slow, long-term decline.”

In a report entitled Casserole Revival, Eblex claimed casseroles appealed to consumers but they were “hugely let down by varying results” when preparing meals.

“The casserole and braising sector is an important part of the red meat category,” said Eblex trade marketing head Mike Whittemore. However, differing terminology on packs and in store - such as stewing, braising and casserole - made shopping the fixture difficult, he said, adding shoppers were concerned about inconsistency in the raw and cooked product. “More often than not, the on-pack cooking instructions are generic and do not take into account the fact that different cuts - be it silverside, feather or shin - need different cooking times, resulting in chewy or overcooked meat.”“Consistency is key to the casserole and braising sector,” he added. “Both the current practice of using different cuts under the same product descriptions and the butchery methods which allow different muscles in the cut are a prime cause of the inconsistency which dogs the sector”, which also had a direct bearing on the on-pack cooking instructions.

Eblex has devised a cooking guide and is discussing with retailers and meat processors the possibility of incorporating it on packaging, as well as introducing recipe ideas on fixtures and promotional literature.