AHDB Beef and Lamb conference stresses importance of innovation
AHDB Beef and Lamb’s A World of Innovation conference took place at the Tower of London attracting delegates from across the industry.
“We need to understand the market, what the market wants and then we can build on that,” Mike Whittemore, head of trade marketing, AHDB Beef and Lamb said. He looked at the current market initiatives – such as promoting the mini joint as an ideal midweek meal – and focused on how being innovative and considering consumer lifestyle factors could increase sales.
With evening meal cooking times down from an average 60 minutes in 1980 to just 31 minutes in 2014, Matt Southam, multiple retailer account manager, AHDB Beef and Lamb recognised how making beef and lamb meals convenient so they meet the consumers demand for a short cook time was crucial to making red meat relevant and accessible to the modern consumer.
Steve Wald, executive director, innovation, Beef Innovations Group reflected how this was of similar importance in the U.S. and provided an insight into the solutions that were being practiced in America, such as FDA approved packaging which can be used in the microwave to cook a roast.
Offering products which come with sauces and suggested accompaniments, such that has been done in the poultry and fish markets was also highlighted as a potential marketing solution for the UK and a way of promoting the versatility of beef and lamb.
Dick Van Leeuwan, business development manager, AHDB Beef and Lamb stressed how better butchery techniques and product consistency could add significant value to the market. He used the example of seam butchering the feather muscle into flat iron steaks as opposed to casserole/braising steaks as potentially adding £2.88 million to the annual retail sales value of this muscle. With the potential added sales value that new product development would offer, van Leeuwen extended an open invitation to all businesses wanting to look at new product opportunities to visit the NPD unit in Cheshire.
Following on from van Leeuwan and the importance of new cuts, Hugh Judd, foodservice project manager, AHDB Beef and Lamb, highlighted key areas in which foodservice suppliers and operators can maximise footfall and profit.
“Quality and value are always going to be watchwords of the sector,” Judd said. “But the real winners will be those that combine this with dish innovation from new cuts and global influences, and make a feature of it on menus.” As our report clearly shows, tapping into these trends will make a real difference to bottom lines.”