Niman Ranch Partners with Martha Stewart

August 27, 2010

The desire by many consumers to find sustainably and humanely raised meat products has prompted some of them to trade in trips to their local grocery stores for visits to specialty markets.

The desire by many consumers to find sustainably and humanely raised meat products has prompted some of them to trade in trips to their local grocery stores for visits to specialty markets. And once they leave, they may not come back, instead choosing to also do their non-meat shopping in the new location. 

The new Martha Stewart all-natural meat, made by Niman Ranch, may be just what the doctor ordered to bring consumers back to their local grocery chains in search of natural meats and other items too. A couple years back, Martha approached Niman Ranch with the goal of creating a natural meats product line that would feature her favorite flavors, recipes and packaging ideas. The result of this collaboration is an impressive selection of pre-marinated and ready-to-heat items that are designed to work for both big holiday dinners and everyday meals.

“What Martha brings that is unique to these products is her conviction to serving meat that is raised by family farmers who treat their animals right, and who treat the land with respect – which is also the goal of Niman Ranch. Martha’s interest in sustainable agriculture made this collaboration an obvious choice,” says Jeff Tripician, Chief Marketing Officer for Niman Ranch. 

Another unique aspect of this partnership, says Tripician, is that this is not a co-branded endeavor. This is Martha Stewart, made by Niman Ranch, with Niman Ranch being the exclusive manufacturer. Their own strong quality brand, partnered with access to Martha’s 43 million followers, gave both parties an excellent forum for educating the public about humanely raised products and providing them with recipes that would be acceptable to Martha’s loyal consumers.

“The program is going to be marketed by Martha Stewart herself – on her T.V. and radio shows, in her magazine and on-line. That marketing support is worth millions to drive the brand,” Tripician says.

Currently, the natural meats line is getting ready to go live with their test partner, Ahold (700 grocery stores including Stop & Shop, Giant Landover and Giant-Carlisle), from D.C. to Massachusetts. Other grocers, like Meijers, Winn Dixie and Ingles may follow suit in early 2011. Items available will include Fully Cooked Braised Beef Short Ribs, Bone In Half Ham, Fresh Marinated Pork Chops with Orange Thyme, Fully Cooked Spicy Chorizo Pork Sausage and Fresh Marinated Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts with Honey Citrus.

Tripician says that the market for the new Martha Stewart natural meats line is mainstream groceries, which make up about 35,000 grocery stores in the U.S. Up until now, Niman Ranch products have only been available at smaller stores like Whole Foods Market, Lunds, Bristol Farms and Trader Joes. He says that in testing, consumers gave them an overwhelmingly positive response, and that could lead to increased traffic at mainstream grocery, giving them a competitive advantage.

In fact, a recent Niman Ranch case study found that having a dedicated natural meats section increases revenue by 79% versus in-line merchandising. They also found that branded sausages outsell similar private label sausages by 123%. Meanwhile, a study of Martha Stewart’s audience revealed that the typical Martha follower is 69% more likely to pay more for environmentally safe products. She is also 84% more likely to say that she buys based on quality, instead of price.

Headquartered in Alameda, California, Niman Ranch has been a provider of all-natural beef, pork and lamb for more than 30 years. Their network of 650 U.S. farmers and ranchers are located across 11 states and are required to meet the strictest animal handling and environmentally responsible raising practices. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. is a diversified media and merchandising company, providing consumers with unique lifestyle content and products. Eighteen out of 19 Martha followers interviewed said they would definitely or probably buy these products, even if the pricing were 20 to 25% more than similar items.

“Ten years ago, there was a small group that went to niche grocery stores looking for natural and sustainable products, willing to pay more for them, but today those percentages are much larger. Mainstream groceries who have lost these customers in their perishable products sections now have an opportunity to bring them back by offering natural meat in their stores that is convenient, humanely raised and easy to make,” Tripician says. 

For more information about the new Martha Stewart Meats line, please contact Penny Wolfis at or 303-941-9182.