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4 key trends to understand the meat category

  1. The unprecedented values and volumes seen in 2020 were not repeated

2021 saw a decrease in grocery spend against the unprecedented numbers of 2020, but when we compare to 2019 numbers, 2021 looks like a relatively solid year. The consideration of beef, chicken and pork declined versus 2020, but has experienced some growth versus 2019. This is a similar trend for purchase incidence.

  1. Increased focus on sustainability and health impacting meat consumption

In the UK and Ireland, we have seen a decline in beef consideration as Ireland comes into line with the rest of Europe. The number one reason for reducing beef consumption is a desire to reduce consumption of all meat for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons. Health and sustainability in general have recently come into sharper focus for shoppers, which is influencing their propensity to buy beef, and meat generally. Yet, shoppers do still maintain a love of beef. The key to keeping shoppers in the category is to assuage their growing fears around the environmental and animal welfare impact of beef production, and to communicate clearly the value of good quality, grass-fed Irish beef.

  1. Rising prices lead to the reinvigoration of the meat category 

Across Europe, we are seeing the impact of inflation. High costs are increasingly becoming a barrier to consumption and purchase of beef.

However, special offers have been key for catching shoppers’ eyes and giving them licence to trade up and explore the category. There is clear evidence shoppers are looking for something new in their repertoire, whether that’s new cuts, new flavours, new ways of presenting what is already on offer. There is a necessity to reimagine ranges and formats across categories. Currently, lamb is benefitting from this desire for a change, with consideration of lamb increasing among shoppers, while consideration of all other categories is declining.

  1. Use Irish & Grass-fed to reinvigorate

Irish beef producers have great attributes that we can point to help solve that need for reinvigoration. Grass-fed remains a key signifier of better quality beef in all markets. It is also synonymous with sustainability for the beef shopper according to our Global Sustainability Outlook research from 2021. Thanks to the Grass-fed Standard, we can point to clear proofpoints around grass-fed that other origins cannot do at such a scale.

For more information on the Meat Shopper Insights study or for further information on developments within the Irish meat sector and sustainable Irish beef exporters please contact Kieran.Fitzgerald@bordbia.ie in your local Bord Bia office.

Bord Bia. 2021. Meat Shopper Insight Tracker.

Bord Bia. 2021. Global Sustainability Outlook. https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/insights/global-sustainability-insights/

Eurostat. 2021. Turnover and volume of sales in wholesale and retail trade.