Quality, brand and health sell meat in Asia
At a conference last week on UK red meat exports, hosted by levy body Eblex, Santini said these points were much more important in the premium meat sector than price.
Speaking about the Asian premium retail market, and the trends impacting the category, she said that while consumer prices were rising across the region, especially in areas such as the Philippines, due to inflation, the markets to which the UK is already exporting meat were experiencing buoyant consumer confidence.
She said premium retail had seen good growth, with a growing middle class looking for more and better products.
Santini said it was a huge generalisation, but Asian consumers loved ‘newness’. This was very prominent in retail chains, for example chains proclaiming ‘new arrival - UK chilled native dry aged beef’, she said. “There is always the opportunity for something new and something different. Retailers are always looking to differentiate their range, and look to their suppliers to help them do that.”
The variety of meat on offer has certainly been growing she said. While, six or seven years ago, you could only find rib-eye steak in a restaurant, she said there were now grocery retailers offering around eight different types of rib-eye to buy pre-packaged. However butchery counters were generally more of a showcase for expertise, she added, as the majority of shoppers did not buy over the counter - they went there for advice and then bought the pre-packed product.
Asian retail was also seeing much more in the way of food imagery, and the idea of Westernised products was really coming through in terms of visual marketing, she said, citing one example of a store which had a moving mural featuring butterflies, which, if you manage to scan one with your smartphone, gives you a QR code to get 10% off frozen meat in store, for example. Another notable trend was the introduction of cooking advice to shelf-edge marketing.
Trends in premium retailing:
* Satisfying the evermore sophisticated Asian shopper
* Communicating quality and provenance
* Showcasing product expertise
* Responding to changing lifestyles