Descriptive and informative menus may encourage diners in the out-of-home market to select meat-based dishes.

This is according to research from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), which also showed that out-of-home dining accounted for between six and 13% of total beef, lamb and pork volumes in the UK during 2022.

However, the board has said that its research has uncovered unused opportunities to elevate the red meat industry in the out-of-home market and, if implemented, could maximise sales and improve the reputation of the industry.

The new findings from AHDB’s consumer and retail insight team have highlighted that getting the menu and dish offering right is the key to ensuring that a consumer chooses a red meat dish when they eat out.

AHDB senior retail insight manager, Kim Heath, said: “The research provides restaurants and other eating-out establishments with insights to help them maximise sales of these dishes, benefiting the supply end of the market by improving the reputation of red meat among consumers and increasing demand.”

Out-of-home market

AHDB said the out-of-home market is driven by indulgence and enjoyment, which are both associated with perceived quality from consumers.

When presented with mock menus and asked to select which areas most signalled meat quality to them, consumers stated that standards and ‘Britishness’ combined were the most meaningful aspects to them.

The Union flag, Red Tractor and RSPCA Assured logos, for example, were identified as trusted, intuitive symbols according to AHDB’s research.

“Coupling this with appetising images and descriptions focused on preparation and cooking methods, flavour and eating experience, will bolster meat quality and taste perceptions further,” AHDB said.

“Descriptive words such as ‘tender, slow cooked belly of pork’ suggests a sensory experience, and ‘specially selected for flavour’ implies quality and care.

“Descriptors around freshness and outdoor bred and reared were also valued pieces of information to inform meal choice.”