With the rise in inflation, energy prices and general instability across the globe, the inevitable effect of people ‘tightening their belts’ will be of great concern to meat suppliers, but what challenges is a meat wholesaler like DB Foods really facing behind the scenes, and are there any positive glimmers of opportunity? Chief Executive, Gary Smith, explains.
The Cost of Living Crisis is a term that has been used in so many aspects of our daily lives, that some people are suggesting we are becoming desensitised to it. However, in amongst the talk of financial markets, share prices and property values, there is one thing that people will always notice – the cost of their food.
As a meat supplier to retail butchers, hospitality venues and catering companies, we know that it is the prices displayed in cabinets, on menus and in quotes that makes customers hesitate, businesses anxious and the effect on meat sellers can be pressure or even blamed for the rising cost of produce.
The perception of meat wholesalers is that, because we buy meat in bulk, we must be getting a heavily discounted price and good mark up from supplying our customers. Of course, that is the business model for wholesale meat suppliers, but the days of large profit margins are long gone.
Recent years have required meat suppliers to make phenomenal investments in their businesses. Issues surrounding new procedures and laws created by Brexit meant we had to expand our administrative support, demands through the pandemic saw us invest in warehousing and logistics, and now we are completely focused on helping both our suppliers and customers get through a Cost of Living Crisis.
Whist I know colleagues in the industry have been struggling with availability and access to products for their meat supply, our contacts and international network have meant we have not encountered this issue so far, but what we have learned are ways a meat wholesaler can support its customers:
Making sure that more affordable cuts and types of meat are available as an alternative, so that people still spend money, even if it is on different products.
Working with suppliers, who are also suffering from the Cost of Living Crisis with the price of feed, energy and transportation, to get the best possible price without exploiting anyone.
Nurturing and supporting a meat wholesaler network that ensures that the best-selling products are there for ‘bread and butter’ business.
Sometimes we get a great deal on a range that may not have as long a shelf-life, but if we make that clear and a customer can sell it at a reduced price, it’s a ‘win-win’.
Sharing knowledge and experience across our customer network, suggesting products that may work for an individual customer and our ‘Support Your Local Butcher’ campaign all helped to get us through COVID and I believe will help in the Cost of Living Crisis.
Costs are rising for everywhere, for everyone. From the farmer investing in livestock and transport manager paying for fuel, to the person at home managing their weekly food shop, but the key to success is collaboration and, as meat wholesalers, we are continually focused on doing our bit for all those we work with and, of course, those who work for us.