MOST Zambian consumers are generally less concerned about meat safety and health diets than their counterparts in developed countries, says chartered marketer Chaste Nsama.
Writing in the latest edition of the “Marketer”, a publication of the Zambia Institute of Marketing, Mr Nsama said changing lifestyles may bring about an alteration in consumer behaviour in the Zambian meat industry.
He said concerns of Zambian consumer with regard to health consciousness were however expected to increase over time.
Food labeling and trademarks may promote consumer assurance to a large extent, but nonetheless, the Zambian consumer today wanted to eat a variety of meals, which related to a variety of processed/red meat types and cuts, as well as preparation alternatives.
A 2006 Grunert report states that the needs of the consumer formed the basis for the existence of processed/red meats.
Knowledge of the different market segments and what constitutes consumer value was the point of a successful business.
The consumer of today has increased knowledge and power. Although meat is demand driven, there are opportunities for delivering increased customer value and satisfaction.
Lifestyle media was also starting to influence consumer behaviour; its aim is to make consumer behaviour change through ‘social experience’ extensive database of twitter usage which is on the increase.
In the past, consumers used to eat unsafe processed/red meat from the streets due to poverty, lack of education, low disposable incomes. Today consumers were aware of the risks involved in the consumption of such meats such as cancer.
This will change the behavior towards the consumption of meats based on lifestyle changes which will affect the sector.
He explained that the Zambian processed/red meat market has a hybrid/heterogeneous consumer and consisted of different races with different cultures and market segments with varying preferences.
“Therefore, consumer behavior will result in homogeneous consumer behaviour with higher similarities in Zambia and the region at large due to emerging themes of health living/lifestyles to avoid diseases associated with processed/red meats, most predominantly cancer.
“For example, more and more Zambian consumers are becoming health-and–fitness conscious which has shown an increase in the number of consumer behavior towards reduced traditional junk foods, reduced fats and high cholesterol foods and low sodium processed/red meats.”