Warning that retail changes could make it harder to sell pork

Selling pork to UK consumers could soon become more challenging due the major multiples moving away from multi-buy offers and Y for X promotions in favour of “simpler” sales techniques, according to AHDB Pork.

All part of an effort to follow an “everyday low pricing strategy” in order to compete with the hard discounters, the multiples’ move is being viewed as one of the biggest changes occurring in grocery as a whole.

“And it’s definitely affected meat,” said AHDB Pork, “which has historically relied on these promotions in order to boost volume.”

Around 40% of grocery sales are through promotions, including sales mechanics such as three-for- £10 deals and buy one, get one free, offers.

Tesco and Sainsburys have already announced the phasing out of such approaches, however, and pork could take a particularly hard hit from the change, if others do the same.

“The most popular way for shoppers to fulfil the three for £10 deal was bulk buying three packs of chicken breasts, followed by three steaks or packs of mince,” said AHDB Pork. “Pork is often a later consideration, however, making up the final product to fulfil the deal. Without this offer, shoppers need more persuasion to add pork to their baskets.

“With the loss of the multi-buy promotional mechanism, it has become more critical than ever to bring pork to the front of the consumer mind-set and make it more of a destination or dish-based purchase than an additional buy in an X for Y deal.”

While pork sales have hold up well so far this year, helped by the pulled pork campaign, this is seen as being partly because the retail price of pork has been falling over the last two years, a situation which may be about to change.

“The recent rise in farmgate prices may eventually lead to pressure for retail prices to rise too,” said AHDB Pork. “Already, producers’ share of the final price has started to increase, from historic lows of 31% in the first quarter of 2016 to 35% in the latest figures.

“In a retail environment that is still applying deflationary pressure, any price rise for pork will mean it will have to fight even harder to maintain retail sales amid the changed promotional mix.”

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