Meat+Poultry - June 2018 - 85
Technology, transparency and other forces provide
clues to driving change in retail meat departments
BY E R I C A S H A FFE R | e s h a f f e r @ s o s l a n d.c o m
nimal proteins remain a major
contributor to retailers' bottom-lines,
sometimes accounting for more than
30 percent of total sales. But in 2017, meat
sales volumes were flat and that's not the
performance retailers, or the meat industry,
wants to see.
"On our own end, we are so focused on
driving volume and minimizing shrink and
minimizing markdown, that we tend to also
focus on what people tend to buy," said
Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at 210 Analytics,
San Antonio, Texas. "But if you could figure out
a way to get people to buy a bigger variety [of
meat cuts] then I think we all win."
The 2018 Power of Meat report provided
indicators for how retailers can broaden
consumers' meat horizons. The Power of Meat
is a big-picture scan across the retail landscape
to find megatrends gleaned from growth
drivers of meat sales that can be applied to
the meat department. Roerink presented the
annual Power of Meat findings during the 2018
Meat Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee,
Photos: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.com
"ONE SIZE FITS ME"
The Power of Meat revealed how megatrends
such as technology, convenience, health and
wellness and transparency are reshaping the
entire food industry. Those same megatrends
are transforming the way consumers make
"Thirteen years ago, we saw some
differences based on income, we saw some
differences based on gender," Roerink said.
"But the differences were minimal because
most dollars spent in the meat department
came from baby boomers."
The era of the "one meat shopper" has
passed. Price-per-pound still drives meat
purchases, but generational differences
have come into play - millennials are more
interested in total package costs, value-added
items and special attributes while boomers
care about appearance. High-income shoppers
are more interested in finding ways to save
time and are focused on nutrition.
"We really have no 'one meat shopper'
anymore," Roerink said, "if you think about
the generational gaps, the multicultural
society, the reinvention of the gender roles,
the different ways in which people work.
In the mornings, we used to see a surge of
people coming into our stores. Now, people
shop throughout the day."
Conventional, unprepared raw meat
dominates retail sales from the meat case.
But retailers need to find ways to create a
"one-size-fits-me" product from a one-sizefits-all item, Roerink explained. A majority
of consumers still prefer to self-select their
meat, so personalizing unprepared raw meat
might mean offering similar products across
different attributes such as organic, grass-fed,
pre-formed patties or multi-packs.
Retailers also should consider the impact
of technology on consumers' shopping
experience. The internet and social media have
empowered consumers by putting access to
product information at their fingertips. Price
comparison shopping is the norm with 41
percent of consumers reporting that they look
at competing prices for the cuts and kinds
of meat they buy, Roerink said, adding that
providing different price points for meat items
have no 'one
- ANNE-MARIE ROERINK
Technology, while empowering consumers,
also has opened the door to more competition
from online meat purveyors and consumers
are starting to take notice. Roerink said
shoppers are a lot less hesitant to consider
or try buying meat online. The Power of Meat
found that people not buying groceries online
declined to 62 percent from 81 percent, while
people not buying meat online fell to 81
percent from 96 percent.
"Nineteen percent have bought meat
online," Roerink added. "Now, it might be
once, it might just be a pack of hot dogs but
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