Adding value to your existing farm diversification project is a great way to ensure you are getting the maximum benefit from your farm business. If your farm diversification business produces meat products, then there are plenty of options for adding extra income streams through complementary products. Meat-based farm diversification businesses could include meat box businesses, farm shops, butcheries and more.
Charcuterie has experienced a significant increase in sales in the last few years. This is partly due to a movement towards lighter meals, which can be made to feel special, and a desire for more experience-based eating with friends. As well as a greater popularity in dining options, which include grazing and sharing boards.
Charcuterie can be an excellent option for extending a product range as the products can be made from your existing meat supplies, or you could choose to team up with a local charcuterie business. Additionally, the shelf life of charcuterie products is often significantly longer than other meat-based products. Charcuterie also often uses less desirable parts of an animal, such as in the case of using cheaper cuts in salamis.
For more on charcuterie and incorporating it into your farm diversification, check out this previous blog.
There is a growing demand for high-quality, homemade dog food options, including raw food. This is where owners will prepare dog food from scratch with a selection of ingredients such as bones, offal, meat, eggs and vegetables. This demand is particularly well supported by child-free millennials who have professional careers but, due to being child-free, can spend their disposable income on things like their pets and hobbies.
Offering a complete dog food solution can be complex, but you may be able to offer specific ingredients for sale to your existing customers who have dogs. This is an effective way to improve carcass balance and make a profit from what is normally considered waste products of the meat industry.
Offal can end up being a waste product for many meat-based farm diversifications. So finding ways to use offal in saleable products is a great way to reduce waste and increase profits. Sometimes this is as simple as offering recipe ideas for customers to follow, or it could include preparing the offal so it is ready to cook, or including it in offal-based products such as black pudding or haggis. Consider what options are relevant to your customers, and you may even wish to survey your customers for ideas.
Ready-to-eat foods include a variety of things from baked goods to ready meals. In this case, I am going to focus on cold sliced meats and ready meals. Cold sliced meats include hams and the like that you might normally buy at a deli counter, and adding these to your farm shop or butchery can be a great way to generate some extra sales and increase the average value of each sale. Consider whether you can use your existing meat or if you will need to buy in products from other local suppliers.
Ready meals can also be a good option for increasing sales, as there are lots of simple ready meals that can be prepared and stored. If you are in an area with lots of older customers, there is the potential for an untapped market of older people wanting the convenience of ready meals, but who also want the quality of farm-to-fork meat. Options for ready meals could include stews, cottage pies, lasagna and many more.
This is somewhat an extension of the above option, but you could offer pies unbaked (or ready to cook) or ready-to-eat, as suits your set-up and ideal customers. Pies, pasties, sausage rolls, and the like are all ideal for using up and adding value to less desirable products/cuts while also adding a new product line to attract new customers.
If you choose not to produce the pies in-house, you may be able to work with a local bakery or producer to create a product line that is bespoke to your farm diversification but is made off-site.
We have all walked through a supermarket, got to the checkout and then been tempted by the sweets and chocolate while waiting in line. This is a tactic applied in many shops, as a small extra purchase at checkout will increases the value of a sale, even if it’s only by 5-10%. You can apply this in your farm diversification business as well by using snackable products. This could include pork scratchings, biltong, jerky or similar meat products that are ready to eat, relatively cheap and a good snack option.
Making your own snacks can be quite technical, so we recommend finding a supplier or collaborator for this particular option.
Throughout this blog, we have mentioned the option of collaborating with local suppliers who match your brand ethos and target market. This last section looks at collaborations that are not meat based and instead offer your customers another relevant product to buy alongside your meat.
The most popular of these options is wine and cheese. Wine is ideal for its connection with dining, particularly red-meat sales of steaks and prime cuts. It also doesn’t spoil, and today there are many local vineyards across the country. For example, in Devon (our neck of the woods) we have brands such as Sharpham wine and Lyme Bay wines. Cheese also does well when sold alongside meat, as it requires similar storage and transport considerations in terms of chilling and such.
If your farm diversification benefits from being near the sea, you could also consider a collaboration with local fish businesses. This might include seafood sales but could be more specific such as smoked or dried fish, or speciality shellfish.
Whichever options you choose, make sure you have a clear marketing strategy and ensure you have checked all food safety and labelling requirements.