Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Der Pommeraner, German Sausages visit the UK



On the visit of the Pommeranian sausage company, Der Pommeraner, to London and the International Food and Drink Exhibition.

There is an undiscovered country on the Baltic coastline, in the North-East of Germany, it is Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A green undulating and scenic landscape with coastal resorts and lovely beaches occasionally littered with the amber that the Vikings prized.

An appreciated tourist destination for the Germans ever since the former East German became accessible after the fall of the wall, it is also home to a set of culinary traditions and food related businesses. One of these is “der Pommeraner” (the Pommeranian).

Der Pommeraner is a family run business specialising in that quintessential of German foods, the sausage!
As with any stereotype, it hides a far richer food experience than one might originally expect. It’s like saying that we British have a cheese, and that’s Cheddar, totally ignoring the fact that we have Stilton, Wilstshire, Lancashire, Red Leicester, Wensleydale and many, many more, often from artisan producers at the highest level.

So it is with Der Pommeraner, who provide a range including not only the familiar Frankfurters, but also Bockwurst, Knockwurst, Wiener, Bratwurst and more which, including their flavoured variants, total an impressive 72 products - with of course, five Pommeranian varieties. These are quality, award winning products.

It was my pleasure to accompany Dana and Sandy Reggentin-Hassenstein, responsible for Der Pommeraner’s foray into the international market, as part of a program supported by the German government. Our base was the International Food and Drink Exhibition (IFE) 2011 at Excel, in London.

The objective was to learn about the UK market and find opportunities for Der Pommeraner products in Britain.

The IFE itself gave the opportunity to visit different meat stands and see what was on offer, talk to some of the exhibitors and arrange to meet people. London was also a place to visit external companies and see what the high end retailers were offering and a place to travel from.

One surprise for the visitors was the comparable quality of the average British banger (as sausages are colloquially known), with its lower meat content, coarser texture and oozing fat. An unexpected culinary shock when used to a more quality, finer German product (and also a reason for my preferring the “finest” ranges of  British pork sausages, where there was a guaranteed meat content above 70%).

So what were the potential ways into the UK market for Der Pommeraner? We identified two main issues, 1. Getting people to taste the product to win them over, and 2. Finding the best route to market.

It is no secret that 80 percent of meat products are now sold though the large supermarket chains, with their competitive pricing and centralised purchasing. Butchers and independent delicatessens make up another 15 percent and the remainder is taken up by farm shops and other outlets.

These all have different requirements in terms of approach and, more specifically, presentation to the UK consumer. In retail outlets in particular, there was a big difference in packaging and product presentation, depending on whether it was a supermarket or an independent small retailer.

Despite the grim grey weather, we also managed to visit a range of the high end shops in London, via a few sights on the way. The best display and range of German sausages being on show in – Harrods – where else!

A dash to Southwold also gave an insight to what the independent shop at the end of the retail chain required to make it easier to sell new products, and when.

The high quality pork sausages, in their many variants, do have a potential market in the UK, where 69% of households eat pre-packed, fresh sausages at home!

Dana and Sandy of Der Pommeraner left the UK with one immediate contact interested in further business and a number of leads and new insights to help them target the UK market even more successfully.

To find out more about Der Pommeraner, visit their English website at http://www.der-pommeraner.de/index_e.php. If you are looking for new, quality sausage and meat related products for your business, give Dana a call at Der Pommeraner, +49(0)39998 318-0.

Related articles:
Two German companies visit the IFE
The taste of flowers.


Part of the VHP Lebensmittelwirtschaft 2010
Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Project Management by Europartnerships Ltd
in cooperation with Milton Contact Ltd (UK)
And Come Across (DE)

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