Older Australians will be the focus of future red meat marketing campaigns and branding strategies.
With 20 per cent of the nation’s population expected to be over 65-years-old by 2025, the meat industry is “best targeting older, wealthier” consumers.
This future path was touted by Meat and Livestock Australia’s managing director Richard Norton during the Food Heroes discussion forum last Friday.
“Connecting our red meat industry to consumers is vitally important,” Mr Norton said.
“With Australia’s ageing population our red meat industry needs to sell the health benefits of red meat, among other positive attributes, to older, wealthier people.
“MLA is expected to keep consumer trust in the Australian red meat production process above 90 per cent of all people surveyed.”
The organisation tries to achieve this by continuous improvements in the welfare of animals, a strong stewardship of the environment and resources by livestock producers, and understanding the role red meat plays in a health diet.
“MLA does a lot of consumer tracking about what shoppers think about the red meat industry in Australia,” Mr Norton said.
“The main reasons people would not buy red meat is around animal welfare and environmental issues.
“If we don’t track the issues of our consumers, then we can’t address them in a timely and appropriate manner.”
Mr Norton added with ongoing technological advancements, it’s possible consumers will be able to rate the red meat they are eating in real time through a phone app.
“If a person buys some meat from a supermarket or in a restaurant and after cooking it, can rate it!” he said.
“This will give real time feedback from consumers on the red meat they are eating.
“It’s then possible a consumer’s feedback can be traced back to the exact animal the cut came from and provide immediate consumer information about its consistency and red meat eating quality.”
As Australia’s peak marketing, research, and development red meat and livestock body, MLA appears focused on keeping Australian red meat on domestic and global dinner plates.
“We are very serious about understanding our markets and customers needs, while keeping our industry globally competitive,” Mr Norton said.
“We monitor the social trends in different countries, the demographics of those markets and economic trends, plus how they are all intertwined.
“The United States consumes 20 per cent of Australia’s exported beef products and has a per head consumer spend five times greater than a Chinese person.
“Every market is different and we just can’t do the analysis over one entire market because there has to be micro-analysis within a market as well.”
While MLA forecasts global food markets to grow 5 per cent year-on-year during 2017, the growth of meat and poultry sectors is expected to only be a small contributor to the overall increase.
“The global food market was in decline last year by 6.4 per cent year-on-year,” Mr Norton said.
“Values of the global food market by 2020 is forecast to rise 25 per cent above its level at 2016, so we’re back into a positive global food market and it’s growing.
“The main categories of the global food market are meat and poultry and they are predicted to only have a small rise in growth, as compared to other products like fish, dairy, fruit, and fresh vegetables.”