Consumers Trading Down on Proccessed Pork

UK - The message from the processors and retailers in general at present - that consumers are trading down on processed meats in particular.
calendar icon 31 October 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Buyers of premium products are tending to move to standard-plus, whilst standard-plus customers are moving to standard, and standard customers are trading down to value lines.

This cascading effect is particularly bad news for British-owned abattoirs because the lower down the quality league table that customers move, the less likely they are to be buying British meat.

The more consumers' spending cascades downwards, the less likely they are to be buying British meat. But what will happen to discount brands like these when the recession becomes old news, and consumers return to standard, standard-plus and premium lines?

Pig numbers have tightened as predicted, and fresh pork sales are holding up well, but ham and bacon prices are under pressure from imports.

Producers who find themselves in the media spotlight in the coming weeks may want to stress the importance — again — of consumers always looking for the Quality Standard Mark.

Some industry sources have argued that the reaction being seen from consumers is out of proportion to the levels of hardship actually being felt by the population at large, as Britain is only just entering recession.

However, several weeks of unremitting bad news about the economy have caused consumers to count their pennies more closely than before, even though they may not materially be affected by the economic gloom.

Pig producers looking for a ray of hope for next year may take the view that once the recession becomes old news — just something we have to live with for a year or two — many consumers will return to their old purchasing habits — namely British bacon, sausages and ham.

Speaking after the David Black Awards, NPA chairman Stewart Houston said he had heard a lot at IGD's recent conference about the supply chain having to tighten its belt... "I would like to hear retailers say they are going to cut their margins too. I bet when their results come out they will not be significantly down".

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