Will developments in mobile technology impact on the meat aisle?

Laura Bishop, Marketing Manager for Quality Schemes at EBLEX, takes a look into the future.

More than 50 per cent of adults in the UK own a smartphone, according to research organisation Future Foundation. With that figure anticipated to rise a further 40 per cent over the next four years it will bring a huge shift in the amount of people accessing the internet weekly from a mobile device, with that figure expected to reach eight out of 10 adults by 2017.  

Laura Bishop, Marketing Manager for Quality Schemes at EBLEXAt EBLEX, we are excited about the fast moving pace of mobile technology and how it can help us to convey our messages of assurance more easily to consumers while helping those in the meat industry to add real value to the shopping experience.

With consumer concerns focussing on supply chain integrity in the wake of the recent crisis, research shows that half of all consumers under the age of 34 are interested in using their mobile phone to scan a product in-store to find out more about it – such as where it was produced - before they buy.

Such is the high ticket price on many items in the fresh meat aisle that retailers have added security tags to the pack. How relatively simple, therefore, to provide some real added value on-pack? Or rather to use an on-pack device to provide a wealth of information off-pack that shoppers can access on-line in-store.

The country of origin is the easy bit. Add traceability to provenance and provide information on any quality assurance scheme under which the meat has been produced and we begin to add meaningful detail and reassurance at the point of purchase that would be impossible by any other means. Research by the IGD shows that in the past six months there has been an almost 60 per cent increase in the number of shoppers who think it would be worth paying a little extra for products with quality assurance standards.

EBLEX has already begun to harness the potential advantages of mobile technology to Quality Standard Mark (QSM) beef and lamb through the use of QR (Quick Response codes) on pack. While this has been driven mainly by promotional activity to date, the opportunity – for supplier and retailer alike - to establish a much more meaningful dialogue with shoppers is limited only by imagination.

For example, having satisfied the shopper on provenance, traceability and quality assurance, retailers can lead the shopper to other parts of the store with recommendations on accompanying items – an obvious method of cross-selling that brings mutual benefits to shopper and retailer. This could be packaged up as a recipe. Given that over 60 per cent of shoppers have used the internet in the past six months to find a recipe - a figure that is higher than for those who used the net to compare prices - there is scope to reach a wider audience by enticing them with content they want.

At EBLEX, we’re now using QR code technology to communicate with consumers who have chosen to buy Quality Standard Mark beef and lamb. They are offered advice on how best to prepare their cut and also how to cook it rare, medium or well done. There’s an app designed to help consumers to bring together all the ingredients for a successful BBQ. There’s even an audio recipe app designed to inspire confidence – so much so that when consumers have cooked their beef or lamb dish they can add notes, rate their culinary progress, take a photo and show off their cooking know-how to friends via Facebook, Twitter and Email.

On a more practical business-to-business level, our latest app will enable retailers to order any of the beef or lamb cuts featured in the EBLEX Meat Purchasing Guide direct from their supplier from either a smartphone or tablet.

Our work with multiple retailers, the meat supply chain, independent butchers and foodservice operators is already seeking to embrace the future. So try your hand at mobile technology – use your smartphone to scan the QR code on this page and find out the benefits of the EBLEX Quality Standard Mark Scheme – and then stay on our website to discover how working with EBLEX can further help develop your business.

This article first appeared in the June issue of Meat Management    

Quality Standard Beef

Quality Standard Beef

Read the standards relating to beef >>
Quality Standard Lamb

Quality Standard Lamb

Read the standards relating to lamb >>
Quality Standard Veal

Quality Standard Veal

Read the standards relating to veal >>