Thursday, 2 May 2013

New beef and lamb cuts give consumers something new

The Tower of London was an appropriate setting to showcase innovative beef and lamb cuts to an audience of farming and supply chain journalists. The Steak Bar and Chop House are initiatives from the EBLEX trade marketing team to help butchers, other retailers and some food service outlets make the most from the beef and lamb carcases they buy. The project helps balance the carcase, helping boost profits, while offering consumers something different at perhaps a more conservative cost to some other more familiar cuts in these times of thrift.

Thinking of novel ways to both market quality standard beef and lamb to consumers and interest retailers in really pushing the products is something to which EBLEX devotes significant resources. With more than 60,000 beef and sheep farmers around England, individually they would not be able to invest in this type of activity. For their part, retailers have many products to sell so focusing purely on the ones we want them to out of the goodness of their hearts is an unlikely scenario. Therefore, creating innovative ways to help sell fresh, farm assured beef and lamb to consumers is at the core of our trade marketing work.

So last week’s event was an unveiling of the Crown Jewels of the new campaign, hence the audience of trade journalists who can help spread the word and the setting of the Tower of London. It certainly proved a popular choice with a full room of guests who listened to EBLEX representatives, as well as chairman of the National Q Guild of Butcher Brindon Addy and Morrisons’ meat and fish project manager Paul Robinson, outline why they felt the product development project was a winner.


It loosely falls under the umbrella themes Cook-In, for the retail sector, and Eat Out, for the foodservice sector. In total there are five new ranges, which also include Gourmet Burger, The Carvery and Discover Lamb, which bring new, added value Quality Standard Mark products to market, improving carcase utilisation and enhancing profit potential throughout the supply chain.

Steak Bar, which was first introduced to the retail sector last year, is being relaunched with the addition of new beef and lamb steaks. The range includes traditional steak cuts such as the rib-eye which has been highly trimmed, as well as a number of quality, added value alternatives such as the flat iron, bistro rump and centre cut which are new to the market. These modern, affordable steaks are available to both the retail and foodservice markets and supported with a host of marketing collateral to help drive sales.
The strategy is a long term initiative. The cuts have been extensively tested among chefs, catering butchers and consumers, as well as there being scientific tests carried out by an independent food research company, which has shown that the steaks will work well in the foodservice sector, adding differentiation on menus and bringing additional profit opportunities. The findings are presented in a new book, ‘Excellence in Steak’, which will help caterers determine which cuts will add most value to their menus. For example, the spatchcock fillet, flat iron and Denver were the highest scoring steaks with consumers based on the ‘overall liking.’
Similarly, the Chop House range has been developed with the steak lover in mind. The new range of bone-in beef, lamb and veal steaks, offering enhanced flavour and succulence, will complement existing barbecue and grill product ranges. After first appearing in the foodservice sector, the cuts, such as T-Bone Steak (beef) and Three Bone Rack (lamb), are now becoming more prominent in retail outlets. Like Steak Bar, the Chop House cuts offer substantial profit opportunities.
So while last week’s launch event was a focus of activity, this new product development work will be seen in butchers, supermarkets and on some menus for some time, ultimately creating demand for quality assured beef and lamb, supporting the market prices for producers, and clearly demonstrating how EBLEX is adding value to the sector.