Exhibitors at Foodex 2018, the UK’s leading trade event for the food and drink processing, packaging and logistics industries, will shine a spotlight on the pressing trends impacting the meat sector, when it returns to the NEC, Birmingham, from 16-18 April 2018.
An increased popularity in plant-based products and diets is creating new challenges for manufacturers in the meat and seafood industries. With over a quarter (28%) of meat eating Brits reported to have reduced or limited their meat consumption in the last six months, an increasing movement towards ‘flexitarianism’ is being noted whereby consumers sit comfortably between the meat-eaters and non-meat eaters, by making a conscious effort to reduce their meat intake.
The meat sector has long remained a traditional category with low levels of innovation versus other fresh food sectors. However, in response to changing consumer diets and rising concerns about sustainability and waste, a number of trends are gaining traction. Free-range, high-quality meats are more in favour with the health-conscious and ethically-minded consumer, whilst portion packaging and frozen formats, which help reduce both food and packaging waste, is in high demand.
Dining trends are also seeing consumers eating out more often and for a wider range of occasions. This has led to a considerable market growth in the restaurant sector, while 50% of consumers now purchase street food at least once a week, with more than 20% buying it three times a week.
Demonstrating excellence in the meat manufacturing industry, Foodex will also play host to two competitions, designed to identify the best young professional and products available on the market. First up on Monday 16 April, the Premier Young Butcher Competition 2018 will see apprentices from across the industry take on the four-hour, six category competition, where they will be assessed and evaluated for innovation, good working practices, precision as well as for a variety of products in the Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue, Kitchen Ready and Display categories.
Organised by the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMFT), the competition is promising to showcase the most exciting UK butchery craft skills as young apprentices battle it out for the title of Premier Young Butcher.
A second competition organised by the NFMFT and sponsored by Lucas Ingredients, Dalziel, Interbake and William Jones Packaging, will take place on Tuesday 17 April – the day after the Premier Young Butcher is crowned. The National Meat Products Competition will challenge independent butchers, farm shops and food processors to demonstrate their butchery skills across 22 categories from sausages, bacon, burgers, ready meals and pies through to charcuterie and Kitchen Ready Products.