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Premiumisation - How it needs to shape the Irish Food and Drink Industry

Brand Forum, Bord Bia

Many food and beverage companies have sought to capitalise on consumers’ continued willingness to indulge themselves with upmarket treats. Diageo, the world’s largest drinks producer, announced earlier this year, that it had acquired a stake in premium tequila brand DeLeón through a joint venture with Sean “Diddy” Combs, the US rap star and entrepreneur. It said the deal would help accelerate its share of the ultra-premium tequila market – a fast-growing segment of the US drinks industry. And sales at the world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev surged past pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter as drinkers switched to more expensive brands and brought on line, helped to bring revenues up 7.9 per cent at the group (Evans, 2021). Also going upmarket is plumping up Nestlé’s growth. Limited-edition blends perk up coffee sales. Supplements to soothe anxious hounds boost pet food sales. Even the humble KitKat is going being dressed in premium clothing, with a new “bespoke and handmade” line (FT, 2019).

Against this backdrop, a recent Bord Bia, Brand Forum Webinar discussed the topic of Premiumisation - How it needs to shape the Irish Food Industry. This insightful article will summarise the event’s key learnings, which were shared by a panel of industry experts. Premiumisation is no longer just about price or about black & gold packaging - it's the promise of exceptional taste, quality and experience.  Premium implies the best ingredients and in terms of food it’s about the ultimate in taste.  But it’s also about the integrity of a brand and business. It’s about full transparency in the supply chain and the highest product quality.

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Brand Forum webinar ‘Premiumisation - John Fanning, Chairman Brand Forum; Annie Dunne, The Arte Of Grate Food, Peter Hannan, Hannan Meats; Adrian Lawlor, CMO Kepak Group and Emma Walls, Commercial Director Glenisk.

A recent Euromonitor study reported on rising number of consumers are expected to become more concerned about the quality of the meat they consume, focusing on eating less meat, but better quality. This, in alignment with the ethical and sustainability considerations, will lead to high growth of premium and organic meat sales. The landscape is expected to become more premium.  Multi award winning Northern Irish based company Hannan meats produce high quality meat sold in Michelin star restaurants and fine food retailers. Through a combination of fastidious sourcing of the best producers, painstaking attention to detail at every stage of their process their quest for excellence knows no bounds. According to Peter Hannan it’s about openness, transparency, sustainability and surrounding yourself with great people.  And he noted that there are no short cuts in food, no silver bullets and no success without hard work. 

Positioning your offering as premium will mean that every touchpoint of a brand needs to align with the premium offering. It’s about creating desirability, rather than demand. Offering something more akin to an experience than simply selling a product benefit.  Annie Dunne, founder of The Arte of Grate Food; recommends Irish food and drink owners to look at categories outside of food for inspiration such as fashion, beauty, home and technology. They are adept at elevating everyday stables to meaningful lifestyle and heightening brand experience.

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Peter Hannan, Hannan Meats

And when it comes to communication a brand’s premium values, the expert advice is to keep it simple – ‘clear is the new clever’.  Being honest with consumers, bring them on the journey with your brand. Less is more. Peter Hannan is an advocate of ‘getting your food into people’s mouths is key’ and let them tell the world. Third party endorsement and multiple taste awards has paid dividend for Hannan Meats.  Adrian Lawlor of Kepak noted that sampling is also a cornerstone of the Rustlers brand success. He outlined the importance of instore visibility and mental availability to drive awareness and land the quality message to target consumers.

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Hannan Meats award

Emma Walls, Commercial Director of Glenisk outlined how Glenisk has focused on PR and storytelling to communicate their premium offering. She noted that the brand has to date relied heavily on social media, but will do less so going forward on the premise that part of premium is saying less, making what you say more important. And on the topic of purpose Glenisk’s experience is that their customers have been highly engaged with Glenisk’s communication around their mission to plant one million trees. 

Annie Dunne shared her experience of working in Harrods food halls, where collaborations with like-minded brands were seen as a route to endorsing one’s premium credentials. She cited examples of experiential installations making emotional connections, such as Dom Pérignon vintage champagnes collaboration with Lady Gaga and Harrods.

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Harrods Chocolate Range, supplied by Annie Dunne – The Arte of Grate Food

As consumers education and adventures in food have developed, so too has the concept of premium.  Customers around the globe recognise that Irish food and drink is world class: that it is high quality, distinctive, and made by a diverse range of creative producers from a unique and fortuitous island location.​ The Irish food & horticulture industry has all the elements required for a premium and more sustainable food system and there has never been a better time to embrace this opportunity.​ To gain further insight on how premiumisation needs to shape the Irish food and drink industry, you can check out our recent Brand Forum webinar here.

Premiumisation - How it needs to shape the Irish Food and Drink Industry, is available HERE

For further details on Bord Bia’s Brand Forum email: Niamh.MacHale@BordBia.ie

 

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