Important role of quality assurance in building consumer trust

Recent independent market research highlights the increasing importance of quality assurance schemes in building British and Scottish consumer trust in red meat brands, delegates heard today (Wednesday 27th January) at Quality Meat Scotland’s “Building Business Success” marketing conference.

Revealing the results of recent research on what consumers want from red meat, conducted by IGD on behalf of QMS, Michael Freedman, Senior Shopper Insight Manager at IGD, said quality assurance schemes, such as those behind the Scotch Beef PGI brand, are now among the top “quality indicators” for shoppers.

IGD, a food and grocery research and training charity, operates IGD ShopperVista which tracks trends in British grocery shopping. Views are sought from over 1000 shoppers every month to receive an insight into their attitudes, the factors motivating their food and grocery shopping and their future behaviour.

“More than six out of ten British shoppers (62%) are willing to pay more for higher quality fresh red meat,” Mr Freedman said. “Two-thirds (66%) of Scottish shoppers say they expect fresh red meat with a quality assurance logo to guarantee that it is meat that they can trust. Seventy-three percent of Scottish consumers would also agree that a guarantee of higher animal welfare is a reason to pay more for fresh red meat.”

He also noted: “Eight out ten (78%) of all Scots agree that Scotch Beef is a brand they trust. The strength of trust in the brand is also evident in London where seven in 10 of those who buy Scotch Beef in London trust the brand.”

The results of recent market research also show some interesting trends in red meat purchasing in what is an “increasingly multichannel” world – in which people shop across a number of grocery outlets such as convenience stores, supermarkets and online, observed Mr Freedman.

He said that communicating quality messages in-store has become more important. “More British shoppers say they will now focus on quality (24%) in the year ahead, in comparison with saving money (20%). This is the first time this has happened since we started tracking the data in 2010,” he added.

Another speaker at the event, highlighted the potential attraction of premium steaks as “the ultimate fast food” dinner.

Katie Shade, Consumer Insight Director with Kantar Worldpanel, showed some of the most important and current red meat consumption patterns in Great Britain, looking at the place of roast cuts, steaks and mince in people’s consumption habits.

She told delegates that steaks give consumers who tend to be more mature couples the option to personalise a quick simple dinner. British consumers are now spending about 30 minutes to prepare their main meal (versus 60 minutes in 1980).

Ms Shade pointed out that convenience and health are two important ways to justify a higher price point to consumers.

“There is still a real opportunity for the Scottish red meat industry to grow through the offer of a premium mince to British consumers.

“This would also target younger families in the category and could effectively help to premiumise the high volume side of the market in terms of forequarter product, such as mince,” she said.

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