In a category, such as red meat, where the vast majority of products are unbranded or own label, there is much to be gained from conveying assurance and marketing messages to customers at the point of purchase. Here, AHDB Beef & Lamb's Strategy Director, Laura Ryan, explains the importance of communicating with consumers to reassure, educate and inspire them about the red meat products on offer.

GETTING RED MEAT POINT OF PURCHASE MARKETING RIGHTMany product categories are bursting at the seams with brands that FMCG manufacturers spend millions of pounds promoting. Walk down any supermarket aisle and you’ll see countless brands that you recognise from heavyweight marketing campaigns. That’s the brand owners’ aim, of course: for you to be reassured that it’s a brand you know and trust; that it’s a brand you can buy with confidence. 

There are very few branded products available in the red meat category but, many products – particularly when it comes to beef and lamb – are high ticket items. When you think about it, it’s quite a leap of faith for consumers to spend a significant chunk of their hard-earned cash on a couple of steaks or a roasting joint.

For some consumers, the retailer’s – or, in the case of the foodservice sector, the restaurant’s – own good reputation is often enough reassurance. But more and more consumers demand more than that.

They remain focused on quality and are increasingly seeking assurance and origin indicators on pack and on menu.


Quality assurance schemes, such as our own Quality Standard Mark (QSM) Scheme for beef and lamb, have an essential role to play. Having the QSM logo on pack means your customers will feel confident in the knowledge that the meat they are buying has been assured at every step – literally from gate to plate. The QSM differs from some other quality assurance schemes because, as well as providing assurance guarantees, it also addresses key consumer concerns about eating quality.

Independent research shows that 37% of consumers are more likely to buy beef and lamb labelled with QSM than any other quality scheme in the UK.* 

It is clear, therefore, that retailers can secure a distinct competitive advantage by using the QSM on their own-label fresh beef and lamb. Providing customers with added value and the reassurances they seek will not only encourage and increase sales but reinforce consumers’ trust in their product of choice.

Labelling is no less important in the foodservice sector. Diners are increasingly looking for assurance and origin indicators on menus and labels when they are out of the home. 

To guarantee the consistently high-quality products that consumers expect, chefs need to work with high-quality ingredients. By sourcing through the QSM Scheme, they can have confidence in the quality and consistency of the beef and lamb products they serve.

Good quality point of sale and display material has a real role to play when it comes to promoting new products and, in particular, communicating their features and benefits. 

At AHDB Beef & Lamb, we invest heavily in promotional material and distribute point-of-sale (POS) kits to butchers several times a year. The materials are hugely popular with butchers as they’re proven to drive sales. For example, butchers who put up our spring promotional kit in-store, reported an uplift in average sales of the featured products – in this case, beef brisket and lamb shoulder – of 20%.


The same principle applies in the multiple retail sector. The introduction of our Steak Bar concept has been extremely well received by a number of retailers. One supermarket group successfully embraced the concept, featuring tailored merchandising and display materials to promote the new range across their entire estate, with hugely positive sales results. 

This theme of offering bespoke materials is starting to filter through into the independent sector, too. And it’s with this trend firmly in mind that we introduced our Image Library and Point-of-Sale Hub – online resources that enable butchers to design and tailor their own POS material.   

There’s so much more we can do – you only need to look at the major retailers in the US and across the Continent to see some fantastically innovative in-store marketing concepts.  

It’s an area we’re keen to focus on going forward and we would welcome the opportunity to work with our retail partners to develop tailor-made promotions and merchandising solutions that would suit their business needs. Anyone interested in discussing such opportunities should contact one of the AHDB Beef & Lamb trade marketing team.  

* Source: YouGov SixthSense Meat and Poultry Survey (13-16 February 2014)

This article first appeared in the May 2015 issue of Meat Management

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