Today, for our final ‘Meat’ the Speakers post, we hear from our Meatup seminar speaker Nathan Ward, business unit director for Meat, Fish and Poultry at Kantar Worldpanel.
Q. How did you become involved with the meat industry and how did you come to be in your current position?
A. I’ve worked in market research for the last 16 years and have worked with various FMCG sectors, when I was offered an opportunity to move to the Meat, Fish and Poultry team in Kantar Worldpanel. It was a great opportunity to work in an area I’d never worked in before and one which touches many people’s lives every day.
Q. What is the best thing about working in the meat industry?
A. The meat industry stimulates and engages me. I love food and learning more about it and really enjoy working with the great people across the industry.
Q. What is the hardest part about your job?
A. Pulling thousands of different pieces of data into something interesting and insightful that people can act upon.
Q. Can you describe yourself in three words?
A. Hardest question ever…if pushed I’d say talkative, energetic and insightful.
Q. What do you make of the current state of the UK meat sector and how do you see Brexit impacting the industry?
A. The sector is in a good position with quality products and is reacting to market trends around dishes and solutions. Where we can build for the future is seeing a wider picture of how meat fits into people’s lifestyles and choices. The current advertising for Tesco and Sainsbury’s reflect this trend and are a great example of how people are starting to work with the trends and see the wider picture.
With regards to Brexit, I don’t have a crystal ball and the only information we have to work on is that Brexit means Brexit, which doesn’t really help anyone understand what is going to happen. What we do know is that any rise in inflation has a huge effect on how people shop and eat. This is already happening and we are seeing shoppers change their habits.
Q. What advice do you have for meat professionals as they attempt to navigate the changes Brexit could bring?
A. My simple advice sounds a little like a self-help book, but is the best we can give with the uncertainty around Brexit. I’d advise people to work with what you know, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Think of Brexit as an opportunity, regardless of your belief (or not) in Brexit and you’ll find ways to grow.
And of course, use all the resources you have to hand to make the best decisions (especially market research).
Q. If you had to only eat one type of meat for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
A. I’m unashamedly a big fan of beef, it’s versatile, suits lots of different meals and occasions… plus is pretty tasty when cooked well.
Q. Can you give us a rough outline of what visitors can expect to hear from you at Meatup?
A. I’m going to talk about the journey from fixture to fork, helping you to understand the big shopper and consumer trends affecting meat and poultry now and into the future. I will talk about how people eat and what they want from the category, reframing the competitive set and giving you a clear view on where we see the future of the category from a consumer perspective.
Q. Why did you decide to get involved with Meatup?
A. We’ve got some interesting insights to share and think this audience will benefit from our thoughts…and of course we will get the opportunity to meet new people and widen our network in the industry.
Q. Why should visitors to Meatup go to your seminar?
A. We are all shoppers and consumers of the category in our own right, so we all have our own point of view on the category and where it is going. I’ll be representing the average consumer and talking about what they want and need from the meat industry. Helping you to understand what people want and how that is changing.
With Meatup fast approaching, tune in next week to hear more from the organising team.