Satisfying the changing needs of shoppers
There have been some significant shifts in consumer behaviour over the last couple of years and shoppers’ budgets are now being stretched in ways many of them have never experienced before, states Michael Doran, Retail Commercial Director at Dunbia.
There have been some significant shifts in consumer behaviour over the last couple of years. In 2021 when people were at home all the time there was a sizable switch to primal meats and a move away from ready meals and further processed products. Families were together and people had time to cook and were interested in cooking again.
Within that we also saw ‘premiumisation’ with people not just buying steak, but getting top tier steak such as dry-aged, Tomahawk and T-bone or from named breeds such as Aberdeen Angus and Hereford that are synonymous with quality.
During the majority of 2022 we were still seeing a strong trade in the steak market as people looked to maintain restaurant quality at home. They were used to buying a bottle of wine and having a nice meal at home, and it was up to us as a sector to produce that restaurant-style quality to keep them satisfied.
‘2023 will itself bring a new set of challenges and of course opportunity’
We are well placed in this respect having secured top awards for our products at the 2022 World Steak Challenge, which attracted entries from more than 20 countries. Five golds awards went to our West Country Choice PGI Beef and Rose County brands.
2023 will itself bring a new set of challenges and of course opportunity. The challenges we’re facing into are not specific to the meat industry and will be familiar to other companies in other sectors. They include the impact of the increasing cost of living on consumer spending, supply chain issues and the rising cost of doing business.
CHANGING NEEDS OF SHOPPERS
Shoppers’ budgets are now being stretched in ways many of them have never experienced before, but buying behaviour is showing it’s not simply a case of trading down or out of a category. Affordable luxuries are being sought and convenient restaurant quality food, such as our sous vide or slow-cooked products, are proving increasingly popular.
Dunbia is a division of Dawn Meats and the groups’ diverse product offering means we are well-placed to satisfy the changing needs of shoppers, whilst remaining committed to a future based around quality and sustainability.
As 2022 came to a close we announced our Plan Four Zero initiative to target net zero operational emissions by 2040 across the group. This net zero commitment involves an initial £90m investment across four areas of ambition – environment, farming, food and society – and takes account of the entire supply chain across Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Dunbia also invested in a multi-million pound project to measure the carbon footprint of its supplying farms across the UK and Northern Ireland by the end of this year. Taken together, this is a significant level of investment in what is obviously a key area for us, so we are focussed on ensuring we achieve results and that we can demonstrate the impact these initiatives are having.
Under the food ambition we are focused on ensuring consumers recognise the valuable contribution meat products make to human nutrition as part of a balanced diet and will continue to work with our retail and foodservice customers to explore new ways to actively raise awareness of the important role red meat plays in maintaining good health and wellbeing.
Dunbia were also recently part of a significant milestone for British red meat as the company exported the first consignment of British lamb to the US for more than two decades. This is an exciting development, and we are now working on promoting our quality lamb offering to this new market.
TO READ MICHAEL’S INDUSTRY COMMENT IN THE 2023 NEIGHBOURHOOD RETAILER YEARBOOK, CLICK HERE