Lisa Kerr, Rowcliffe: “An evolving landscape”

14 June 2022, 07:49 AM
  • Lisa Kerr, head of marketing at Rowcliffe, discusses how consumer behaviour has changed when it comes to cheese, and what she has learnt during the pandemic
Lisa Kerr, Rowcliffe: “An evolving landscape”

Following an extremely challenging last few years, businesses have relooked strategies and plans regularly to allow for continued changing consumer behaviour, driven by the pandemic, and ensuring that they are able to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

One of the noticeable trends during the pandemic was the experimentation with different food types and the exploration of home cooking to create restaurant-quality meals and gourmet in-home snacks. Because of this, the food industry mostly thrived during a really tough trading period for other industries, and we have seen that not only has behaviour not shifted back to pre-pandemic, but consumers haven’t lost their lust for life or their desire for decadent indulgences. Even though this may be the case, customers have also had the chance to re-evaluate their lives, the choices they make, and the values they hold. Through this, they have become more demanding, and look for products and brands that hold the same values as them, seeking quality, value for money, product availability, and a wide range to choose from, whilst always being fresh, and ensuring seamless efficient execution.

Cheese is widely seen by consumers as healthy, which is an attribute which has become very important post-pandemic. Not only is it a healthy choice, but it also has a flair for indulgence and can be seen as a ‘treat’. Its natural role in home-cooked meals and multiple meal occasions provides a simple purchase choice for the consumer when planning their shop.

Taking into account what our customers and the consumer has experienced over the last few years, what we believe is fundamental to the Rowcliffe success is the relationships we have with our suppliers and producers. These relationships ensure that we not only hold the best quality artisan fine food products within our product range, but that we maintain our stock levels to ensure consistent supply to our valued customers. Our team are constantly looking at what trends will be driving the next product development and innovation and engaging with our suppliers on how we can ensure what the consumer wants, we can supply our customers.

In order to fulfil our customers’ needs, we are also constantly looking for ways to streamline our operations, becoming more efficient in our offering and our delivery. The introduction of Rowcliffe delivery vehicles has added to our outsourced fleet, enabling us to be more adaptable, and the innovative changes we have made to our operational functions have created an improved product offering. Our e-commerce website offers our customers the opportunity to explore our full range and place their orders through this online channel. This not only offers those customers who prefer online shopping the facility, but also allows our telesales personnel and area sales managers to focus on enhancing the customer experience with Rowcliffe.

A trend which has been growing over a number of years, but was enhanced during the pandemic, was the need for a consumer to not only know all about the origin of the food they eat, but also that a brand is looking after the environment. Rowcliffe has always been transparent and proud of where our products come from, and telling these stories is vital to the marketing of our product range. Our integrated communication strategy ensures we marry consumer-relevant special days and seasons with the promotion of our producer’s products. Addressing the need and importance for brands to show their commitment to the global environmental crisis has been the recent introduction of a recyclable pack to the Rowcliffe cut cheese offering.

What we at Rowcliffe have learnt through the pandemic, and what we have adopted as a strategic directive, is that we should continue to maintain and grow our valuable supplier relationships, have consistent integrated marketing communications, and ensure we offer a high level of quality, choice and efficiency to our customers.

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