We frequently hear executives from major UK food retailers saying they are committed to supporting British livestock producers.
Many are, but the extent of that commitment is often purposely vague - for this is the great public affairs game in which we are all players!
Faced with mixed media messages and a proliferation of foods from a host of sources, UK shoppers are increasingly making informed choices to show their commitment to quality assured British products.
Unfortunately, in the main red meat categories, products from a multiplicity of sources are mixed together, making rapid, informed consumer choice very difficult.
Many retailers already provide dedicated areas for healthier choices, organic foods, vegetarian, kosher, halal, or gluten free. This kind of signposting is of real benefit when it comes to meeting shoppers’ needs.
By developing dedicated shelf space for quality assured, origin-specific red meat, the most progressive retailers can provide the context for quality and assurance and help today’s busy shoppers express their preferences for home- produced meat more explicitly.
This would promote understanding of the benefits their choice has for our economy, our environment and our communities.
It would also allow prices to reflect domestic supply more accurately and provide a significant show of support to UK livestock producers at this critical time, when commodity prices are such an obvious barrier to better earnings for every part of the chain.
I believe that it would also lift in-store sales of red meat, by volume as well as by value, for both British and meat of other origins. Either way, retailers can be transparent about their commitment to home-produced product based on clear consumer demand. A win-win.
Giving our busy shoppers, this greater degree of food context would make the red meat shopping experience more straightforward and informed choice easier.
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Email richard.clarke@william-reed.co.uk or call him on 01293 610404