Will Meat Win Customers?

The Lempert Report
March 24, 2014

Could 2014 put a fresh spin on store-switching?

Generally for consumers, store switching has been about savings.  But this year, will we see a change driven by quality, service and variety at the meat and poultry case, rather than price?

Research from The Power of Meat: An In-Depth Look at Meat and Poultry Through the Shoppers’ Eyes, shows that this year could be pivotal for stores that strike the right chord with shoppers.  Retailers could use this Food Marketing Institute-American Meat Institute Foundation report, as a partial guide to courting store-switchers by meeting their evolving desires in meat.  

Here are some insights from the report that might help guide retailers:

People care more today about health and wellness when buying meat and poultry.  Nearly half put “some” effort into nutritious choices, and nearly one-third devote “a lot” of effort to it.  

Price dominance is waning.  Price per pound and total package price still top the list in meat and poultry purchase decision-making, but nutrition, knowledge of how to prepare, and preparation time are gaining more consumer attention.

27% of shoppers overall buy meat and poultry in a different channel than the majority of their groceries.  Full-service supermarkets and supercenters are the #1 and #2 channels for meat and poultry in particular and groceries in general.  Yet when people do switch for better quality, variety and lower prices, it is supermarkets, club stores and butcher shops that primarily benefit.

Home-cooked dinners that include meat or poultry rose to 3.8 per week per household in 2013, up from 3.6 in 2012. 

Retailers should pay attention to these consumer trends in the meat department. Emphasize convenience and value-added, heat and-eat choices, as well as pastas, casseroles and international/ethnic dishes. Supermarkets who can step up their meat departments and appeal to customers through convenience, quality and customer service may just put a stop to store switching.