We observe a very strong trend of the distinction of meat products through individually designed packaging. In this regard, the category of artificial casings is growing. These casings provide a wide and varied range of product identification capabilities in order to distinguish it on the market. This is appreciated by customers, ie. meat companies, but first of all - it draws the attention of final consumers of meat products in personalized packaging - says Marek Stępel, Product Manager of Nomax Group in an interview with portalspozywczy.pl.
What are the latest trends in the meat and sausage casings category? Can we talk about some trends, news or maybe is it a "stable" category?
Nowadays, among our customers, we are observing a very strong trend of distinguishing the meat product through individually designed packaging. More than 80% of our casings contain larger or smaller modifications and thanks to that, they are no longer just simple single-color casings. We give them dedicated, individual prints, distinctive colours or other additional elements. This applies to both large clients who have mastered the art of marketing their products, as well as to the smallest ones, who are just building their brand recognition and brand image.
Certainly, according to that, the category of artificial casings is growing fast. These casings provide a wide and varied range of product identification capabilities in order distinguish it on the market. This is appreciated by customers, ie. meat companies, but first of all - it draws the attention of final consumers of meat products in personalized packaging.
Artificial or natural casings? Which are more often chosen by meat producers and what determines the choice?
As the largest manufacturer of textile casings in Poland, we must emphasize the great popularity of so-called artificial casings. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the natural casings market is a much broader market, but also much more susceptible to change. It is strongly influenced by global prices and supply of natural intestines, at the same time reflecting on markets of alternative packaging methods - including artificial ones. In addition, artificial casings have many advantages that are lacking in natural casings. Thanks to the guaranteed stability and repeatability, as well as the constant availability of these products, more and more customers are inclined to replace natural casings with artificial. It is also connected with the growing change of perception of the packaging itself and putting the emphasis on its functionality. In addition to the numerous marketing advantages, artificial casings provide greater durability and freshness of products than natural casings.
Do your customers expect novelties and innovations on the field of meat and sausage casings, or are they conservative in their choice of traditional solutions?
Development of new products is now necessary and common in working with our clients. What we observe is the desire to create innovations that stand out from the rest of the products, meeting the needs of the manufacturer. Of course, the main product is still a packaging with traditional character, nevertheless the numerous innovative solutions that are available encourage our customers to try other packaging methods. Often this brings a very successful result in the form of new, distinctive lines of assortment. Innovative netting with a label, completely different colour of the casing with the newly developed type of printing – there are many opportunities to distinguish the product.
And trends like pro-health, clean labels, natural ingredients and additives affect the meat casings segment?
These trends are noticeable and we see them especially in the way packaging manufacturers want to communicate with their consumers. At the stage of developing the concept of a new product, we take into account the requirements that the market is currently stating. The biggest segment is formed by products without a clearly defined and bulleted list of ingredients, making it possible to significantly increase the sales of given assortment. What we see is a strong marketing influence - the consumer, seeing the word WITHOUT on the packaging, immediately categorizes the product as healthier, without even analysing its ingredients. Also, the appropriate label creation (without using E nomenclature) allows for a more favourable view in the eyes of customers. Unfortunately, lack of relevant knowledge in this field causes a lot of confusion. For example - often quite unnecessarily “category E” is fully considered as "possibly harmful". As a result, manufacturers are looking for new components for meat products to create a product with a short list of ingredients. This kind of production is a complex and long-lasting process, and the need to create components that will meet all the requirements result in a constantly shrinking list of spices and additives for the production of cold meats.
Health-promoting trends have a big impact on the shape of the market, but most consumers treat them in the wrong way. This is well illustrated by the example of gluten-free products that are considered "healthier" even by people who do not have gluten tolerance problems.