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Meeting consumer demands in the meat aisle

Staying on top of consumer preferences and responding to shopper needs is essential for retailers looking to drive sales in the meat aisle.

5 min read


Meeting consumer demands in the meat aisle

(Tyson Fresh Meats)

This post is sponsored by Tyson Fresh Meats.

The meat department racks up $49.5 billion in annual sales for grocery retailers, according to IRI data cited in the 2018 Power of Meat report. Staying on top of consumer preferences and responding to shopper needs is essential for retailers looking to drive sales in the meat aisle.

Eighteen percent of shoppers are buying more fresh meat compared to last year, according to Acosta’s 2018 Progressing Protein Palates report. The report found that millennials are driving the trend, with 41% of millennials surveyed saying they bought more fresh meat versus the year before.

To capitalize on growing demand for fresh meat, retailers can help guide shoppers at the meat case, where the proliferation of products and terms can be confusing. “[S]hoppers are paying more attention to labels and product claims, but are overwhelmed and confused about what they mean,” Acosta analyst Colin Stewart said.

Team with trusted brands

Stocking and working with trusted meat brands is an easy way to get buy-in from shoppers. The biggest reason shoppers opt for brand name meats is a general inclination for buying familiar brand name items, according to the Power of Meat report, but perceived better quality, value and consistency also play into shoppers’ desire for brand name meats.

“Understanding the consumer is critical,” said Kent Harrison, vice president of marketing and premium programs at Tyson Fresh Meats, which has nearly 60 years of experience in both the beef and pork categories.

Partnering with an experienced brand such as Tyson can help retailers enhance sales with current shoppers, as well as attract new ones, Harrison added. It also allows retailers to take advantage of expert advice on what products to stock.

“We have been focusing on both the beef and pork proteins for years, and we have worked hard to build up our portfolio with branded fresh beef and pork programs,” Harrison said.

Find the right product mix

“Through our own marketing and in-house research, we collect information on the consumer and help understand those needs,” Harrison said. “We can then help our customers with that expertise and tailor meat programs and brands to fit their needs.”

The Tyson Fresh Meats portfolio includes attribute-based products that address key consumer demands, such as its Open Prairie Natural* Meats brand, which includes beef and pork products with no antibiotics ever, no added hormones or growth promotants** and are vegetarian fed, except for milk. Its Chairman’s Reserve Certified Premium Beef, Chairman’s Reserve Premium Pork and Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork go through strict certification processes to ensure each meets certain guidelines for marbling, maturity and muscle texture.

Tyson Fresh Meats also offers value added and case ready meats, which are gaining popularity with shoppers. Perceptions of case ready meats reached an all-time high this year, according to the Power of Meat study, in which 80% of those surveyed said they see case ready meats as being just as good or better than meat packaged in store. Tyson’s Supreme Tender Pork product line focuses on bringing natural, tender pork products to the case, and its Reuben Corned Beef is a customer favorite.

Educate with marketing, help at the meat case

Effective marketing is key to ensuring shoppers have a good experience at the meat case and when preparing products at home. The Power of Meat report found that greater understanding of meat cuts and terminology corresponds to buying a greater variety of cuts and preparing meat more often.

Thirty-eight percent of shoppers value having someone available to assist in the meat aisle with things such as customizing amounts and recommending cuts, according to the Power of Meat report. The report also found that 5% of shoppers say meat departments could improve by offering more tips, information and recipes.

Tyson Fresh Meats recently introduced the Certified Butcher Program, a butcher certification program that is available to retail partners to train their department staff to become experts in Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork. The company also offers a wide range of promotional ideas, point-of-sale materials, ad circular templates and a consumer website with recipes and cooking tips.

“We can give the store everything it needs in-store to identify the product and promote the product,” Harrison said.

For more information on meat marketing and clearing up confusion in the meat aisle, download the SmartFocus “The Meat Market: Tapping into consumer trends and demands to drive sales in the meat aisle.”

*Minimally processed. No artificial ingredients. **Federal regulations prohibit the use of added hormones or growth promotants in pork.


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