Shoppers want supermarkets to teach them about meat cuts: SG poll

March 21, 2012

Are shoppers looking for guidance in the meat department? A recent SupermarketGuru quick poll suggests consumers would expand their interest in alternative meat cuts if they just had a little help.

There are a few factors that may be contributing to today’s shoppers changing their meat buying and consumption habits. Meat prices have risen in the past year, which may be leading consumers to try different, less costly cuts of meat. On the other hand, more environmentally aware shoppers may be lessening their meat consumption, and as a result, choosing finer meat cuts for those special days when they do enjoy eating meat. Factor in health and nutrition trends encouraging less red meat consumption, a wide variety of new cooking trends, and a growing adventurous foodie culture, and today’s shopper may be looking for more choices in the meat department. But, how well do your customers understand the different meat cuts?

In an exclusive SupermarketGuru quick poll, a consumer panel was surveyed to find out if they feel confused by meat case selections. When asked, “Do you feel confused or confident when buying meat in the supermarket?” 18 % say they feel confused, 26% feel confident, and 57% feel like they are somewhere in the middle.

We asked our panel if they tend to buy the same cuts of meat over and over again. Eighty-five percent answered yes. When those individuals were asked why they do this, 67% said, “they know how to prepare them,” 42% “like them,” 37% said they are affordable, and 26% said, “I don't want to make a mistake, displease my family and waste food.”

Here are some other specific behaviors we found out:

• 42% think they are two to three dozen different cuts of meat in the meat case, 24% think they are a dozen or less, 21% think there are four dozen, and 15% think there are five dozen.
• 36% do NOT understand the differences between top round, bottom round, loin, shoulder, etc., how these cuts should be cooked and eaten, and what they're worth. Thirty-five percent DO understand these differences, and 29% are not sure.

So far, we know that the majority of shoppers although not completely uninformed about meats, find themselves knowing perhaps, enough to get by. Here’s where supermarkets have the opportunity to attract shoppers to more products in the meat case by offering guidance. And it turns out, according to the SG survey, shoppers want help from their supermarket.

Ninety-three percent of the SG panel said they would like the supermarket to explain the different cuts in signs or brochures near the meat display. And 74% say they would probably experiment with different meat cuts if they had help from their store in selecting products.

Retailers can make meat cases shine and raise interest in a wider variety of products by offering expert advice from meat case professionals, dietitian advice on healthier cuts, and in-store chefs demonstrating ways to prepare different cuts.