Savvier meat-buying creates opportunities for sector

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Meat butcher

Meat hogged its share of the limelight in 2013 and ABN AMRO expects this to result in savvier purchasing on the part of consumers. Clear information makes all the difference, but low prices continue to be equally relevant.

When buying meat German consumers go for what they like best, Dutch are swayed by price Niels Dijkman Niels Dijkman Sector Banker Food

When buying meat, the Germans will go for what they like best and want to know where their products are sourced; price will invariably sway the Dutch. Other factors influencing consumers in the Netherlands include sourcing, production practices, taste and effect on their own health. This paves the way for new concepts to tempt consumers to make a conscious choice in favour of chicken or pork, an ABN AMRO survey of nearly 1,100 consumers in the Netherlands and Germany reveals. Respondents were asked what their motives were when buying chicken and pork.

Germans look at sourcing, the Dutch at price

The survey of the key markets for Dutch pork and chicken throws up significant differences between Dutch and German consumers. Germans first want to know where the product came from and will then look at price; four in ten Germans insist on knowing the product’s provenance, prize the connection with local farmers and 42 per cent have a distinct preference for meat from their own province. The same is true for only 18 per cent of the Dutch, who are influenced by price first and foremost and will only then consider details such as taste, production practices and sourcing. Another striking finding is that Germans will allow themselves to be influenced in their buying behaviour more often than Dutch consumers.

To the supermarket

The Germans clearly love their meat more than the Dutch do, with the Dutch PVE Product Boards putting their per capita pork consumption at an annual 53 and 41 kilos respectively. In the Netherlands, consumers typically eat nearly 22.3 kilos of poultry per year, and in Germany the poultry consumption score works out at 18.5 kilos. The ABN AMRO survey found that 40 per cent of Dutch consumers prefer to buy their meat from an in-store butcher at their local supermarket, with 25 per cent visiting their local butcher’s – other outlets clearly being less popular. Thirty-four per cent of Germany’s consumers prefer the butcher’s and 31 per cent opt for the supermarket’s in-store butcher.

No anonymity

The majority of Dutch consumers have no plans to change their buying habits in 2014, despite meat and poultry’s unfortunate media coverage. Those who do plan to cut down on consumption report being motivated by their own health (63 per cent), followed by animal welfare and the environment (53 per cent), and cost (18 per cent). Consumers planning to buy more pork or chicken are led by taste, information about the way the animals are treated and impacts on their own health. Consumers also like information about product sourcing. “It’s become increasingly important to provide information about farm and farmer, as consumers see it as adding value if they know and feel more about the product,” says Wilbert Hilkens, ABN AMRO’s Sector Manager Animal Production. “The key for providers will be to make a meat concept unique and to tailor it to changing consumer preferences. Concepts will need to change and adapt, swiftly responding to new trends.”

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