By By Marketing & Communications Director, Lesley Cameron, Quality Meat Scotland

6th December, 2021

As marketers it’s our job to identify and capitalise on opportunities. But when your remit is to promote the red meat industry, the booming ‘Flexitarian’ movement and buzz each year around ‘Veganuary’ are, understandably, seen as more threat than opportunity. In fact, these words send fear right across our industry, from livestock farmers to processors to retailers.

30% of Brits eat less meat than they did five years ago and 14% identify as ‘Flexitarian’ – those following a predominantly plant-based diet and actively reducing their meat consumption. This is forecast to rise to almost half of the UK population by 2025, driven especially by 18-39 year-olds; a younger consumer segment who question their food choices more than ever.

But what people say and what they actually do, as we know, can be very different. In 2021 only 1% of the UK population signed up to the Veganuary challenge, and only 18% of them went on to complete it. Lockdown helped to put meat back onto the table for a lot of households, as they sought comfort and tradition, and we saw total meat sales actually increase by 29% YOY in January 2021.*

But beyond the potentially short-term dynamics at play, our killer insight has been the longer-term opportunity to align with these new lifestyles through our defendable brand positioning: ‘meat with integrity’. With flexitarians being driven by ethical and environmental reassurance, the quality assurances of our Scotch labels are well placed to give them that – motivating consumers to trade up to better quality, locally reared meat. Guy & Co’s latest research backs it up: 93% of shoppers agree that our labels mean support towards local farmers; 92% that the meat is produced to higher animal welfare standards, and 59% that it is more environmentally friendly.**

So we’re not shying away from the flexitarian challenge, we’re flipping it into an opportunity. And this will be the single-minded, millennial-minded focus of our new consumer campaign with Guy & Co, launching in June.

We’re in a fortunate position at Quality Meat Scotland, but for me it’s about having honest, positive conversations about your brand – regardless of the challenge you face.

*Source: Kantar Worldpanel data, Unprocessed Red Meat, to w/e 24th January 2021

**Guy & Co usage & attitudes survey, 100 Scottish respondents, February 2021