Coopers Craft Butchers reformulation
22 July 2021
“In 2020, we launched a low-fat breakfast patty, just lean meat and seasoning, coming in at less than 100 calories. We put it on social media at 11am, and the shop sold 30 packets that day, and another 42 packets the following day. There’s such strong interest in these products if you promote them well.”
- Processing of Meat and Poultry Products
- Meat & Poultry Processing / Preserving
Low-fat sausages, burgers and ready-meals have provided a significant sales uplift
Cooper Craft Butchers is a family-owned butcher, with a shop in Bellshill, an online click and collect service, and an online wholesale business delivering to North and South Lanarkshire and the Glasgow area. Laura Black took over the business from her father in 2018, having previously worked in banking.
Feeding the interest in healthier diets
When Laura joined the business, she wanted to diversify our product range. From hearing friends talk about Slimming World and Weight Watchers, she knew people were becoming interested in healthier eating and nutrition, and we developed a line of low-fat ready meals.
With lively interest in the slimming range coming via social media and word of mouth, we then looked at making low-fat sausages and low-fat burgers. Hearing about Food & Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland’s Reformulation for Health programme, we got in touch.
The support we got from FDF Scotland has been a game-changer. Until that point, we sometimes felt we were stabbing in the dark on reformulation, but they helped us focus on three main areas:
- reducing the fat content of our sausages and burgers
- replacing ingredients, such as salt, with healthier alternatives
- developing clear, accurate information and labelling about nutritional content and calories
The first stage of our project with FDF Scotland has focused on our product specifications. For example, they introduced us to a lower-fat, lower-salt rusk which we didn't know about, and now use. Main changes to the range have been:
Low-fat sausages and burgers: we are using higher meat content, from leaner cuts, and our own lean mix of seasoning rather than pre-mixed seasonings; customers are happy with the taste and texture.
Ready meals: we have cut out processed fats, minimised salt and sourced healthier alternatives for ingredients.
Next phase is the nutritional information element. We know we’re using the leanest meat, but we want to be able to give precise information about fat content with confidence and certainty
Our results and benefits
When first developing our slimming range, we thought we would be lucky to sell 20-30 units a month. We have blown that out of the water:
- In the year to October 2020, revenues from our slimming ready meals, low-fat sausages and burgers were approximately £100,000
- Over 60% of our uplift in sales in 2020 has come from low-fat sausages and burgers.
Those gains didn’t just happen by themselves. In parallel with reformulating the products, we worked hard to communicate about them
Firstly, at all points on our journey, we have talked with customers, asked them about what healthy eating options they’d like to see, and got them interested. We make small batches, listen to customer feedback, and tweak recipes along the way.
Secondly, we promote our low-fat, and also gluten-free, products actively on our website and social media.
With work underway on the nutritional information project, there’s further we will travel on our reformulation journey. Obviously, these are uncertain economic times, so we’ll keep our plans and timings agile, but we are very positive and excited about where we can go on this.
Food and Drink Federation Scotland’s Reformulation for Health programme offers support to small to medium-sized companies, both FDF members and non-members.