A supply chain initiative between Asda and its main meat supplier, ABP not only supported Northern Ireland’s beef sector, but also gave consumers a much-needed value boost during the early stages of the Coronavirus crisis.

With the closure of the hospitality and food service markets creating a serious carcase imbalance issue, the Asda/ABP partnership offered an important outlet for the higher value meat cuts – including rump, sirloin and ribeye steaks –  resulting in a 24% sales volume increase across the UK.

The value-focused marketing campaign also led to an unprecedented 50% uplift in volume sales of fillet steak in the initial five weeks of lockdown, while minced beef sales grew by 35% over the same period.

Emma Swan, Asda Buying Manager NI and Gerry Mellotte, ABP Procurement, Lurgan with Asda’s Butcher’s Selection steak range.
Emma Swan, Asda Buying Manager NI and Gerry Mellotte, ABP Procurement, Lurgan with Asda’s Butcher’s Selection steak range.

With 4000 NI farming families suppling beef and lamb to ABP, the success of the campaign reflects Asda’s level of support for the local agri-sector.

Marketed under Asda’s Butcher’s Selection brand, the effective promotional campaign coincided with a time when Asda shoppers faced wider uncertainties and financial worries associated with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Heather Brown, Beef Buyer Manager for Asda explained “ABP has been a long-standing supplier to Asda and the Coronavirus crisis provided an opportunity to support the supply chain by offering a guaranteed outlet for premium meat cuts.

“While everyday cuts such as minced beef have remained an important staple throughout this challenging time, our relationship with ABP, together with a significant investment in price, created strong demand for our rump, sirloin and rib-eye steaks.

“We’re delighted to support the agri-food sector at this time while also delivering great value and quality to our customers across the UK.

Asda and ABP are founding members of the UK Plastic’s Act and the sales drive coincided with the roll out of Asda’s halo card fully recyclable packaging which is now used across its steaks and grill range.

Commenting on the initiative, George Mullan, Managing Director, ABP Northern Ireland, said “ABP has had a long association with Asda in Northern Ireland and in that time we have worked together to promote local farming and the production of quality farm assured Northern Ireland beef to Asda customers in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

“This latest initiative demonstrates tangible support for the sector through strong collaboration with our retail partner, a keen focus on the needs of the consumer and the ability to adapt to a significantly changed operating environment.”

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