Guest post: the power of red meat

Customers want to know more about their food, where it comes from and what benefits it offers.  This provides the perfect opportunity for New Zealand meat retailers, as consumer needs are evolving from the traditional drivers of price, taste and convenience to including the value drivers of health and wellness, experience, social impact and safety, writes Fiona Windle (formerly Greig), head of nutrition, Beef + Lamb NZ Inc (B+LNZ)

Fiona Greig, B+LNZ Inc's nutrition manager.
Fiona Windle (formerly Greig).

Recent Colmar Brunton research (December 2018) has indicated health and wellness are of utmost importance to New Zealand consumers.  The insights highlight red meat sits prominently on the plate in 86 percent of New Zealand households, and 74 percent of consumers believe red meat delivers on core functional benefits such as being a natural food and good for health.  But, more work needs to be done to ensure New Zealand beef and lamb remains relevant in the hearts and minds of Kiwis beyond the established view of being tasty and versatile.  One initiative underway is a new toolkit for the industry to boast the health attributes of including the consumption of New Zealand beef and lamb within a healthy lifestyle.

Traditionally, B+LNZ Inc has showcased beef and lamb to New Zealanders, on behalf of the industry, for its abundant features of taste, quality, convenience, value and nutrition, of which it continues to do via numerous channels.

Today, with the myriad of trends around health and nutrition, emerging protein brands and retailers tailoring their messaging to suit their diverse and unique customer bases, it makes sense to provide a framework of evidence-backed messages, which the industry can tap into and customise to their individual needs.

With this in mind and inspired by its equivalent in the UK (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Beef & Lamb), B+LNZ Inc has commenced an industry guide The Power of Red Meat, a compilation of nutrition and health claims that can be used at point-of-sale, whether it be at the meat cabinet, online or in a brochure.

The toolbox, aka the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) standard 1.2.7 provides a framework that allows eligible foods to make claims (the tools) based on nutrient content.  For instance, a range of lean beef and lamb cuts are eligible to state the following as highlighted on each cut on

  • Excellent source of protein (at least 10g/serve)
  • Excellent source of vitamin B12 (contains at least 25 percent of an adult’s recommended daily intake or RDI)
  • Excellent source of zinc (contains at least 25 percent of an adult’s RDI)
  • Source of iron (contains at least 10 percent of the adult RDI)
  • Low sodium (less than 120mg/100g)

Some may argue that nutrients don’t mean anything to many people, and given we don’t eat nutrients, we need to take it to another level – what these nutrients within a meal containing beef and lamb can do, to make you look and feel better – enter general health claims, or ‘the power tools’.  This responds to consumer research insights telling us that consumers are looking at their health and wellness more holistically, such as meals with a health purpose within a healthy lifestyle.

So when we talk about the protein in beef or lamb, we can talk words to the effect of its impact on growing healthy children, or having a role in muscle recovery after a long busy day.  During the colder months, retailers might like to consider to amp up the messages on the impact of zinc, iron and vitamin B12 in red meat on keeping immune strong or fighting fatigue.  The list goes on. We also have an eye on the US market to keep ahead of the curve as New Zealand evolves closer to the food trends in the northern hemisphere.

In the coming months, a suite of messages will be ready to arm the industry to remind all how red meat really is a superfood in its own right.  Consideration is also being given to the claims that can be made around sustainability, given the converged consumer interest of health of people and health of the planet.

To register your interest in the guide, or to ask any questions, contact Fiona Windle, Beef + Lamb New Zealand or call 021 133 1702.


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