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MEAT & SEAFOOD

A paradigm shift in purchase and consumption pattern of meat & seafood
Tuesday, 15 December, 2020, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Nishanth Chandran
Over the last few years, there was a growing awareness among people to become conscious about their eating habits to lead a healthier lifestyle. The rising knowledge (owing to travel and digital mediums) about the modernised meat retail and the hygienic practices in the Western market, paved way for a new transformation to be created in Indian retail of meat and seafood.

Earlier, the conventional butchering practices in the Indian meat industry had raised many concerns regarding hygiene and safety.  These concerns became even more prominent in the recent months owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in a huge change in the consumer’s preferences. The promise of hygiene and good quality became the main factor that brands looked at as selling points for online meat sales.

Most companies henceforth, highlighted the freshness of their meat and the ethical standards maintained during processing. The focus on freshness, hygiene and customer health has taken precedence along with great in-store experience, online ordering and home delivery among other omni-channel aspects from a brand’s perspective. Customers slowly started to move away from wet markets and the industry started to witness a positive growth with mutton and seafood seeing an instant uptick in the sales.

It is now imperative for brands to provide farm fresh, healthy and hygienically processed meat with quality certified checks from food control authorities such as FSSAI. In India, we do not have natural climatic conditions that is conducive towards storing of fresh meat and seafood. The ideal temperature to guarantee absolute freshness of meat is between 0 - 4 degree celcius (right from cleaning till delivery) and it can be done only with proper cold chain systems which is now being provided by organized meat and seafood retail brands. If it is stored at a temperature below 0 degree and above 4 degree, then the meat is not safe for consumption.

Convenience has also been one of the main factor that contributed to the growth of the online meat companies in the last few years. By ordering online, consumers with tight busy schedules were able to save time as mobile apps allowed consumers to place their order from anywhere at any time. This change in customer preferences triggered the mileage of meat industry in the digitally abled world, especially in the last four years.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, a drastic change in customer behaviour was observed wherein an increased number of customers preferred procuring meat and seafood from their homes, owing to their safety and busy work-from-home schedules. With many companies implementing work-from-home as the new norm, employees were finding it difficult to juggle their work and home tasks which made them look for easy and time-saving options to cook. Hence, brands worked on building an end-to-end offering, by introducing ready-to-made dishes and delivering hygienic meat which has already been cut and cleaned, that will help in facilitating quicker cooking.

The introduction of Contactless retail in the meat and seafood stores during the pandemic was also another major highlight wherein the customer can place their order online and the company will allot a time slot for the customer to pick up the order from the store. This ensured less crowding at the store and meticulously maintain social distancing among the customers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world. People are living differently and buying differently. This situation has posed as an opportunity that helped brands to re-structure and elevate their business according to the consumer behaviour and preferences.

In overall, the entire sector had witnessed many changes with an increase in seen rapid increase of customer base and introduction of many initiatives and features that promises hygiene and freshness to the customers. Going forward, consumers in India are likely to become more concerned about the quality and safety and will look at purchasing meat and seafood only from reliable and known brands.  

(The author is founder and CEO of TenderCuts)
 
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