Meeting the UK consumer’s changing appetite for lamb

A cross-industry focus group has met at the headquarters of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) to discuss the challenge of attracting new consumers for lamb in the UK market.

HCC marketing executives met with representatives of Wales’s food innovation centres and leading training providers in the catering sector, to discuss ways in which new product development could boost the red meat industry. Also present was HCC scholar Peter Rushforth, the award-winning Flintshire butcher who has recently returned from a trip to the USA to study new developments in cured meats and the use of economical cuts.

Research undertaken by HCC and consumer specialists Kantar Worldpanel last year suggested that developing new convenient options for customers could be worth £85 million to the lamb industry overall, particularly boosting the sales of premium PGI Welsh Lamb.

“Of course, most new product development which consumers see is funded by suppliers and retailers,” said HCC’s Marketing Manager Rhys Llywelyn. “However HCC, working with partners across the industry, has a role to develop ideas at a pre-competitive stage which can help the whole red meat industry to attract new customers.

“For lamb in particular, sales are higher among over-55s than the younger age groups,” added Rhys. “Research into the potential value of convenience meal options for attracting young consumers to lamb was undertaken by HCC last year, and work on developing ‘Ready to Cook’ and similar options is ongoing.

“But we need to explore a wide range of options and co-ordinate work that’s happening across the industry, so it was very useful to hold this meeting with a range of partners. We will take this work forward over the next few months, looking at how we can identify funding for developing new types of lamb products, and showcasing some of the new ideas that are already in development at the Royal Welsh and other events,” he added.