CONSUMER AND MARKET-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT OF THE RED MEAT SECTOR
Red meat research and development forms part of the essential functions identified by the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF) as crucial to maintain a viable red meat industry. In the past few years, the RMIF’s members and its constituents became more interested in the research and development done by Red Meat Research and Development SA (RMRDSA). Research and development form an integral part of the red meat industry and any industry per se. The focus of the programme is therefore to revisit market and consumer development in the red meat sector. Market and consumer development are not research elements as such, but rather operational elements. The specific focus of this programme would therefore tend to favour development rather than research.
It is imperative to understand the exact context and within which parameters this programme focuses on market development. “Market development is a strategic step taken by a company to develop the existing market rather than looking for a new market. The company looks for new buyers to pitch the product to a different segment of consumers in an effort to increase sales.” (The Economic Times) Market development is a two-step process to tap the “untapped” market. As an initial step, the research of internal and/or external markets should be done as well as a segmentation analysis. The second step would then be to identify the market segments that are worth pursuing.
It is an attempt to use the existing product (South African red meat) or service to attract new customers. The goal is to expand the reach or tap into a different segment or unexplored market, and in this case, it is to reach previously unexplored or inaccessible markets or segments.
The second pillar of the programme rests on the consumer. A consumer is regarded as the king in modern marketing. In a market economy, the concept of the consumer is given the highest priority, and every effort is made to encourage consumer satisfaction.
However, there might be instances where consumers are generally ignored and sometimes, they are even exploited. Therefore, consumers come together to protect their individual interests. It is a peaceful and democratic movement for self-protection against exploitation. Consumer movement is also referred to as consumerism. The aim of this portion of the programme would be to investigate the extent of consumerism among the South African and international consumers, and the status of the red meat industry’s efforts to meet the consumer’s needs.
Advertising and technology are the two driving forces of consumerism. Advertising is connected with the ideas and thoughts associated with the product, which influence the consumer to buy the product. Through advertising, the consumer gets the necessary information about the product he wants to buy.
Technology is improving rapidly. It is necessary to check the environment on a daily basis because it is dynamic in nature. Products should be manufactured using new technology to satisfy consumers. Old and outdated technology will not help manufacturers to sustain their businesses in the long run.
In its most recent statutory levy application, the RMIF requested a levy for consumer communication and education on the following basis: “The South African domestic market is the largest market for South African beef, lamb, mutton, and goat meat. Over the past decade, growing income levels, sustained trends of urbanisation and improved living standards have supported dietary diversification in South Africa, resulting in the inclusion of more protein in typical diets and rapid growth in meat consumption.” (BFAP Baseline Agricultural Outlook 2017–2026).
Consumption is expected to expand and thus consumer communication and education remain a core focus for the RMIF. Communication and education activities are undertaken on behalf of the South African red meat industry and emphasise the nutritional and health qualities, the full enjoyment value, versatility, and convenience of South African red meat products in balanced diets. The educational data is communicated across the spectrum of consumers and their families to build and maintain a positive image of South African red meat as a healthy, enjoyable, safe food choice that is sustainable in the long term.
It is clear that consumer education and communication are a very significant part of the research and development environment. Until recently the RMIF based its consumer information and communication on its own views of what needs to be communicated and not necessarily what the consumer would like to know. It is imperative form the development outlook going forward to include surveys to put an end to expensive guesswork and focus on the real consumer. Therefore, the aim is to reassess who, what, and where our markets is, and the true facts regarding it.
Elements / challenges
|P6 Elements for consumer and market development of the red meat sector|
|1. Market development and trade, including export||Identifying possible international markets
Review possible export markets accessible to South African red meat producers, including bench-marking
Create the unique selling proposition that SA red meat needs to compete internationally and produce in a cost-effective way, thus optimising profits throughout the value chain
Create a sustainable red meat framework and certification model for international participation – South African red meat standard
|The national consumption is slowing down
International markets are currently unexplored and could possibly yield a bigger return stimulating local sales
|2. Consumerism and customer behaviour||Developing a survey to understand the mind-set of the South African and international consumer of red meat||The red meat fraternity does not know its consumers well enough to be able to exploit the market|
|3. Consumer education and development||Making the nutritional value of red meat known to consumers, using scientific research in an understandable format||The red meat fraternity should open up on issues previously considered taboo in a manner where they can dictate the narrative, rather than trying to explain one another’s narrative|