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How to win with the British Meat Shopper in the Meat Fish and Poultry category?

John Tobin, Data and Intelligence Specialist

How to win with the British Meat Shopper in the Meat Fish and Poultry category Img.jpg

Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

At a recent Bord Bia’s biannual meat trends seminar, the IGD (Institute of Grocery Distribution) presented on What Matters to the British Meat Shopper. The following topics were covered:

  1. How planned is the MFP (Meat Fish Poultry) category
  2. Ease of use and energy efficient cooking methods
  3. Signage
  4. Welfare and responsible sourcing


  1. How planned is the MFP category amongst shoppers

Based on survey responses it was uncovered that three in four British MFP shoppers planned on purchasing something in this category prior to visiting a store and is the fifth highest category shoppers pre-plan on purchasing. This high level of planning was suggested to be linked to this category forming an important role in meal centres and hence are a stable part of the shop. However, this high level of planning was just to purchase items in this category but not necessarily specific products. With almost half (49%) of meat shoppers indicating they do not make their final decision on which meat product to purchase until they’re in the store. The implication of this figure is that it suggests relatively low levels of meal planning by these shoppers who then may build their baskets around the meat products purchased. For suppliers to the MFP category, meal suggestions or recipes on pack can encourage shoppers to choose certain products and allows opportunities for partnerships and cross selling. A further four in ten shoppers responded that they knew exactly what they planned on purchasing in this category beforehand. Such shoppers are more likely to have stricter budgets and to be following exact recipes and so are set on the exact products to buy.

The importance of a good range and availability was also highlighted as an area suppliers and retailers need to remain constantly focused on. Where the first choice is unavailable, these shoppers tend to over-index on buying their first choice from another store and so can result in a loss of shoppers where a store underperforms in this area. In addition, as this category features strongly in shoppers’ meal plans for the week, they are unwilling to wait until their next visit to the store to purchase or go without. This presents an opportunity for suppliers to work with their customers to minimize the risk of products being out of stock and prevent the loss of customers as a result.


  1. Ease of use and energy efficient cooking methods

While taste, quality and price are known as top choice influencers, ease of use was also identified as a factor that can influence consumers to make a purchase, particularly around cooking instructions. One such example IGD highlighted was from the Irish market, where consumers could purchase meat and all the other ingredients for a meal from one fixture in the store. Providing consumers with cooking instructions for example highlighting cooking time on pack or if the product is ideal for slow cooking were also identified as areas suppliers to the MFP category should consider. Linked to cooking instructions and ease of use, was the rise in interest amongst consumers to conserve energy whilst cooking, with almost a third using their hobs, slow cooking and more particularly was the rising popularity in the use of air fryers. The retailer response to the rising interest in air fryers was noted with examples of how retailers are moving to identifying air fryer friendly products on pack, introducing aisles dedicated specifically for air frying products etc. Hence there may be potential for fresh meat and complete meal solutions to increase their offerings in this space.


  1. Signage

When it came to signage, consumers purchasing fish placed signage as a more important factor while meat and poultry shoppers had a slightly lower score for this metric. However, it was acknowledged that this is an important medium to communicate value and quality in addition to communicate ethics and health, both of which over index for MFP shoppers. Examples noted in this space were where retailers had short descriptions demonstrating quality of or other attributes of a product with a QR code where customers can scan and read in greater detail when they’re at home.


  1. Responsible sourcing

The area of responsible sourcing was highlighted as a topic in the fish category that receives a lot of attention around environmental considerations and concerns of over fishing in recent years. However, in the meat and poultry category the equivalent term doesn’t seem to be as much of a consideration in shoppers’ minds who are concerned about animal welfare and sustainability issues but these are treated as more separate concerns. The key learning or suggestion here was for the meat category to learn from this and potentially dial up their communication on responsible meat production similar to what the fish category has done in recent years.


Conclusion and implications for Irish meat suppliers:

In conclusion, the importance of making things easier for shoppers should be a key priority for those supplying into the MFP category with the key consideration being around the pre-shop and getting your product on to shoppers’ lists before visiting the store. Ensuring retailers have a good range and availability and communicating the range well online is important to target shoppers who are known to do research before visiting the store. When Irish meat suppliers are communicating with their customers or retailers, the importance of aligning with shoppers’ values or priorities is key. This can be achieved by working with retailers on potential cross selling fixtures allowing shoppers to get all ingredients in one place and demonstrating the great credentials of your product. While it was noted that price and value are the key items underpinning consumers’ purchase decisions currently. The audience were also reminded to continue to keep up with credentials and accreditations around sustainable, sourcing, animal welfare etc. The implication here for Irish MFP suppliers is to continue to build trust with the consumers of your products and to be well positioned as these topics emerge as key priorities once more.


IGD. (2023). What matters to the British meat shopper. IGD.