The latest consumer research has identified four major red meat consumer megatrends influencing our beef industry.
During a speech at Queensland Country Life’s Food Heroes event on Tuesday, Meat and Livestock Australia’s chief marketing and communication officer Lisa Sharp said demand for Australian beef is driven by a whole range of variables.
“They are economic variables, consumer preferences and choices, plus other demographic changes,” Ms Sharp said.
“All of these variables combine can lead to particular megatrends and they are trends common across most markets.
“Megatrends impact the way we market and position our beef product on the global stage.”
The first global megatrend is “more from less”, according to Ms Sharp.
“We’ve got scarce natural resources and increasingly the consumers know these are finite resources,” she said.
“The consumer is becoming more aware of the impact they have from purchasing certain types of products and the flow-on impact on natural resources.
“Consumers today want more information and are more conscious about the choices they make being sustainable.”
The impact on an Australian beef producer from these environmentally conscious consumers, both positively and negatively, include on-farm management and efficiencies, broader questions of sustainability, yield from a cattle carcase and a focus on leveraging everything from an animal product including manure.
“Consumers are shifting towards green minded products, which are natural with less human intervention,” Ms Sharp said.
“So it’s important a beef producer profiles their product and the brand’s approach to sustainable production methods.”
The second beef megatrend is “great expectations”, according to Ms Sharp.
“Consumers are starting to value experiences over things,” she said.
“Consumers are looking for products and brands sharing values very similar to their own values.”
The third emerging megatrend is a so called “forever young”.
Globally many countries populations are aging and this could present some challenges for our beef industry, Ms Sharp said.
“Some foods get harder to eat when you’re older and beef could potentially fall into that category of some older people,” she said.
“But beef is also in the recommended dietary guidelines and is an important part of a person's diet, so it’s important to promote the health benefits of beef to older consumers.”
The final global consumer megatrend is “fear and uncertainty”.
Terrorism and the 2007-2008 global financial crisis has greatly impacted global beef consumers according to Ms Sharp.
“Consumers have lost confidence in the old structures and are looking to find confidence in new structures,” she said.
“One emerging trend during these times of fear and uncertainty is consumer’s turning to the ‘country of origin’ for products, which is a great thing for the our Australian beef industry.
“In a market such as China where food safety is very important, Australia’s remoteness and reputation for clean beef production is of great value.”
Ms Sharp added in three years from now there will be more households considered affluent in China than high income households in Australia.
“Combine this growing Chinese wealthy with their increasing desire to eat western foods, including beef, makes for a positive future outlook for our Australian beef industry,” she said.