Byline: Gwyn Howells
FOR MLC Cymru, the consumer is king.
The attitude and behaviour of consumers determines our research strategy and, as a result, the majority of our activities in Wales.
Much of our research strategy is focused on factors we believe influence consumer behaviour: value for money determined by perceived price and quality. Consumers are more likely to buy a product if they perceive it to have quality attached to a price they are willing to pay.
Price is one of the main factors which most consumers consistently identify as driving their decision to buy, so producers must constantly re-examine their costs. We need to identify them better and take steps to reduce them. This can be done by comparing prices with others, using techniques such as benchmarking.
Quality can be achieved in a number of ways. Selection of better breeding stock or trying different feed regimes are just two examples. Listening to what the consumer wants, however, is the most important way to achieve quality.
For example, one recent MLC survey found that consumers rated tenderness most important in a meat product, followed by flavour. In order to match the consumers' desire for tenderness and quality MLC developed the Blueprint specifications or achievable best practice in the production of fresh meat that, if adopted, will enhance the eating quality of the meat. …