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Consumer Research


The dying breeds

The dying breeds

Some 55 per cent of consumers steer clear of the butcher and fishmonger counter within supermarkets or the High Street equivalent as they are unable to differentiate a fillet from a sirloin or a liver from kidney.

Similarly at the fish counter, consumers are afraid of looking equally foolish as they are unsure of the difference between a cod and plaice or can spot a Dover sole from a lemon sole.

The findings come from research by leading sales and promotional marketing agency Branded Moments of Truth.

There has long been the tradition of the celebrity chef from Marguerite Pattern through to Fanny Craddock, although it is Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein who have tapped into the psyche of the consumer with their culinary delights on a plethora of cookery programmes.

However big their impact on screen, and however impressive the dishes the reality is just under 69 per cent of singletons and 48 per cent of couples opt to buy highly packaged but labelled meat and fish, vegetables and fruit, even on weekends, over purchasing the ingredients from scratch at the butcher’s or fishmongers.

Despite the fact that over 45 per cent of those surveyed own a Oliver, Stein or Lawson cook book, normally given as a present, 20 per cent never, and 25 per cent hardly ever open them so are undereducated in the fineries of the fish or meat counter and this is the main reason why they put the packaged items in their baskets.

Infact, a staggering 68 per cent of those surveyed are unsure of their different cuts of meats, and too embarrassed by the knowledgeable butcher to ask.

Joint Managing Director of Branded Moments of Truth, Mark Joy, say, “There needs to be a push towards re-educating the consumer by reengaging them on cuts of meat, and varieties of fish, and in doing so this could also lead to a reduction in packaging waste.

“The next move is to re-educate consumers on taking a shopping bag with them to the supermarket or its High Street equivalent.”

Over 63 per cent of the 25-35 year olds who were in the survey said they do not buy from the meat or fish counters as they were never taught about cuts of meat or different varieties of fish by their peers.

Of these 58 per cent said they would feel more at ease if they were able to obtain leaflets, instructions and advice on what’s available on the meat and fish counters; many too agreed that buying in this manner would make them feel happier about reducing packaging on prepared cuts and fish stacked on the supermarket shelves.

The survey revealed that it’s not just the butcher and the fishmonger who have been sent to Coventry. There is also a growing threat to many of the UK’s charming oldie-worldly characteristics that were once so endearing. The vegetable garden, knitting, baking and even D.I.Y are fading into the sunset.

Research shows that only 10 per cent of women under forty now knit, a stark contrast to thirty years ago when mothers and daughters knitted together. Similarly, there was a time when bent nails were straightened and kept in a tin and buttons were cut off unwanted clothes and kept in a safe place.

The survey revealed that 53 per cent of consumers saw such practises as a throwback to the days of WWII, when the nation was told not to be wasteful and to ‘Make do and Mend.

Some 40 per cent said they didn’t have the patience to knit or bake; 34 per cent didn’t know how to knit; 17 per cent couldn’t be bothered and 71 per cent said they’d rather buy their knitwear from a shop as they perceived ‘homemade’ as being ‘un-cool’.

Research shows that knitting, growing vegetables and baking cakes are seen as old fashioned and something grandparents used to do. The surveyed revealed that second generation blamed the first, as they were taught the aforementioned skills but seldom put them into practise.

Just fewer than 40 per cent of 45-55 year olds questioned in the survey said they never bothered to apply themselves, as they associated growing vegetables and baking cakes as being time consuming and not worth the effort, especially when affordable vegetables and cheap confectionary became widely available in supermarkets or on the High Street.

The dilution in the second generation applying themselves has resulted in an undereducated third generation.

Mark Joy said, “The consumer believes they haven’t any time for DIY, or to bake or knit when in fact ‘baking or knitting time’ is spent, in many cases, watching endless hours of television.

“The baby-boomer generation may have ‘watched with mother’, but many never followed through, nor did they bother to teach the skills they inherited to their children.”

He added, “Despite the fact that consumers watch celebrity chef’s, very few actually go out and buy the ingredients and cook for themselves, similarly DIY programmes may have seen high viewing figures five years ago, however, the reality is DIY is in trouble as consumers are opting to get the man in instead.

“And, as for baking, unless there are step-by-step instructions that can be followed with ease; the fear of a flan going wrong is too great to be bothered with getting the tins out. And it’s highly unlikely that the baking tins and flan cases are in the cupboard in the first place.”

Joy went on to say there is a need to use trial schemes and let people simply have a go.

He said what has come out of the research is the need for the customer facing staff to reengage with the consumer, to make them feel able to confidentially peruse what’s on offer.

Joy concluded, “There should be good live interaction, where the customer facing staff make the consumer feel welcome and then show them the most succulent cut of meat, ask what they are planning on cooking, for how many, and afterwards give them some information relating to other produce.

“The main point here is to make the consumer feel brave and confident enough to return.”

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