At this year's Annual Meat Conference there were ten key findings that were presented to the attendees to attract more customers and sales to the meat department.
This study was funded by Cryovac and the research and findings conducted by 210 Analytics. While inclusion of meat and poultry as a portion of a home-cooked dinner remained steady at 3.7 times per week, shoppers changed their purchasing patterns slightly and sought more variety in their dinner lineups, with upticks in pork, lamb, value-added and meat alternatives. Convenience meats, which include heat-and-eat, ready-to-eat and value-added products, also experienced sales growth, particularly among millennial shoppers, who seek flavorful, fast and easy meal solutions.
Here are the Top Ten:
- Promotions are key to solidifying sales among primary shoppers and attracting patrons of other channels.
47 percent of shoppers decide on meat/poultry items pre-trip, with 78 percent checking promotions at their primary protein store and 59 percent comparing multiple stores.
- Connecting with Millennials is crucial for traditional formats to retain the meat dollar.
Supermarkets strengthened their position as shoppers’ primary destination for meat/poultry through high shopper conversion combined with being the top choice for channel switchers. However, Millennials’ higher propensity to shop alternative channels may indicate further loss of trips for traditional formats .
- Price per pound, along with total package price, dominates the purchase decision tree.
Total package price is the top choice among Millennials, preparation knowledge and, particularly, preparation time and ease are also much more important to Millennials.
- A growing consumer desire for transparency in the product and the production process is driving sales gains.
Segments such as antibiotic-free, grass-fed, hormone-free, natural and organic meat/poultry recorded high growth percentages, but are niche segments to date.
- Satisfaction with the meat trip steadily declines as the day progresses.
While all highly rated, shoppers who shop after 7 p.m. tend to be more satisfied with meat/poultry prices than service, variety, in-stock and cleanliness.
- Six in 10 shoppers changed their meat/poultry purchases over 2015 by spending more, less or differently.
This resulted in more variety in their dinner lineups, with upticks in pork, lamb, value-added and meat alternatives. Tactics for spending less focused on smaller quantities, buying cheaper kinds/cuts and buying more items on sale. Cents-off the price per pound is the most popular promotional type, ahead of BOGOs, and is an even greater favorite among several growing segments of the population, including singles, organic shoppers and shoppers focusing on freshness.
- Convenience meat/poultry sees growth but needs careful consideration of program investments at the store level.
Forty percent of shoppers only “occasionally” or “hardly ever” know what is for dinner two hours from mealtime. Food retailers struggle to capitalize on this planning void, even if it could be a strong opportunity for heat-and-eat, ready-to-eat and value- added meat/poultry solutions.
- Available, friendly and knowledgeable meat associates can be a big differentiator.
When needing help, few ask meat department associates and instead use digital resources or ask family/friends. Yet, associate help or advice tends to pay off in greater baskets and higher loyalty. Nurturing shopper loyalty through available, friendly and knowledgeable associates can be a big win for retailers, with many shoppers seeking more information and education, particularly Millennials.
- The meat case provides everyday convenience for the majority of purchases.
Shoppers select 70 percent of purchases from the meat case, with 97 percent using the case for at least some purchases. When selecting meat, the use by/sell by date is the primary way in which shoppers discern freshness, followed by the item’s color.
- Suggestions for improving the meat department can be key to optimizing sales.
Shoppers want better prices and promotions; better variety, including species, package sizes, brands, provenance and product attributes such as organic and antibiotic-free; improved shopper outreach/customer service; and optimal freshness and quality.