Media cookery best is plug of the lot…
PROACTIVE marketing is necessary to maintain goose sales and gain new customers. But nothing compares to Delia Smith cooking goose on TV or a goose recipe in a weekend supplement to boost sales, according to Judy Goodman.
"Recently, there was a recipe of the day in the Daily Mail for Michaelmas goose. We had 28 orders for geese that day and continued to receive new orders for the rest of the week."
But relying on occasional mentions in the media is not enough and attending shows and exhibitions to give cooking demonstrations is necessary to gain new customers, she believes.
"You need to be out and about to attract new private customers. This year Ive been to Henrietta Greens Food Lovers Fair in Covent Garden and the Autumn Show in Malvern to demonstrate goose cooking."
Order forms for geese are taken to shows and sent to existing customers. Although Christmas demand accounts for most trade, there is increasing interest in geese for Michaelmas. This year, 400 were killed in time for Michaelmas Day on 29 September.
Increasing the numbers of private orders is Mrs Goodmans long term marketing objective. "Geese are sold to private customers for £3.13/lb but it is difficult to get more than £2.60/lb from butchers. However, there is more administration involved in dealing with private customers."
Goose weights vary between 4.5-6kg (9.9-13lb) and for private customers unable to collect their geese, overnight delivery is used, and charges are added to recoup costs. Taking orders and dealing with collections and payments means employing someone in the office five days a week from September to Christmas.
But successful marketing and administration must be backed up by a consistently high quality product to maximise returns, stresses Mrs Goodman. "Geese must be high quality which means hanging for 10-14 days and properly eviscerating them."
Presentation is also important and all geese are wrapped in greaseproof paper with herbs and supplied in a printed box. A recipe leaflet is included to help customers cook their goose to perfection.
Current consumer interest in where food comes from promises to keep the Christmas free range goose market buoyant and Mrs Goodman is considering expanding her flock by 500 next year.
However, she believes geese should continue to be a seasonal bird, presented in a traditional way. "Geese should be naturally cooked on the bone. Some goose producers bone and roll but I prefer geese to be traditionally cooked for Michaelmas or Christmas."