From Mass Distribution to Customer-Centric Awareness Tools: The Evolution of the German Meat Market

From Mass Distribution to Customer-Centric Awareness Tools: The Evolution of the German Meat Market

Bernd Hallier (EHI Retail Institute, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2524-2.ch024
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The demand for meat grew in Western Europe after World War II: meat became a mass-product from the 70s of the last century onwards. However, while in the consumer product section “brands” were established, in the agricultural sector food was an anonymous product. Unfortunately, mass-production and discount-prices resulted in many food scandals starting in the 80s. In the beef-sector, especially the British Cow Decease (BSE) created a mistrust of meat. To re-gain “trust” meat-buyers of six German retail-chains started in 1995, together with the Cologne-based EHI Retail Institute, a tracking and tracing system—known later as the EHI-Meat-Label. This private initiative has been rolled out since 1997 by the EU via EU-regulations. Within the last five years, most stakeholders had been built up in the total supply chain in Western Europe with tracking/tracing systems from farm to fork, quite often with the help of IT. The evolution at the beginning of this decade is caused by mobile technology and social media, i.e. apps on smart phones that enable the communication “from fork to farm.” The challenge is a U-turn of info-streams strongly emphasizing consumer awareness. Part one of this chapter discloses what had happened at the backstage of the EHI-Meat Workshop between 1994 and 2001 to create a technical tool for tracing, to intertwine all stakeholders in the market, and to establish politics, both nationally and internationally. This work represents a case study of applied sciences to explain chronologically what happened within that time-period. Part two is an analysis of the marketing-tools and how the mix of the activities of EHI was used so that this success-story could unfold. Part three is a look at how to cope with the new challenge of smart phones and apps by integrating the individual pioneers into an EU-roof of Future Internet and Technologies. The chapter has been developed through an ethnographic observation platform by the author’s practical experience and observation.
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