Meat Your Shopper: Insights Into What's Driving Consumers at the Meat Case

Meat Your Shopper: Insights Into What's Driving Consumers at the Meat Case

March 19, 2014

Could 2014 put a fresh spin on store-switching - driven by quality, service and variety at the meat and poultry case, rather than price?

Recession and post-recession store switching has been largely about savings for consumers.  But as memories of economic pain recede for many U.S. households (far from all), some people are beginning to spend more on these protein choices.  What’s more, in this area of the supermarket, people focus on nutrition, knowledge and speed, and show an outright preference for national and private brands.

To F3, these research findings from The Power of Meat: An In-Depth Look at Meat and Poultry Through the Shoppers’ Eyes, mean this year could be pivotal for stores that strike the right responsive notes with shoppers.  Retailers could use this Food Marketing Institute-American Meat Institute Foundation report, done by 210 Analytics in partnership with Sealed Air’s Cryovac Brand, as a partial guide to courting store-switchers by meeting their evolving desires in meat.  If retailers determine that consumer meat-spend is also up in their markets – as it appears to be nationally - then investing in strategies that help answer the daily “what’s for dinner” question could pay off.

Consider these insights from the report:

  • 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. Among consumers who changed the amount of meat and poultry they buy, 36% raised what they spend, up from 9% in 2012.  More spending means more opportunity.
  • When mealtime is a last-minute decision, foodservice usually wins.  But food retailers can increase share with value-added, heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat meat and poultry choices, all of which have sales on the rise.  “In a typical week, one-third of shoppers are undecided at least half the time whether they will cook or eat out as little as two hours before dinnertime.  Likewise, when shoppers have decided to cook, 38% don’t know what they will prepare two hours out,” the study finds.
  • A few ways to provide convenience – Emphasize these value-added, heat-and-eat and ready-to eat choices, which more people buy and eat more often.  And provide components for one-pot meals, which are up 22 percentage points over five years ago, as well as pastas, casseroles and international/ethnic dishes.
  • 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.
  • People care more today about health and wellness when buying meat and poultry.  Nearly half (47%) put “some” effort into nutritious choices, and nearly one-third (31%) devote “a lot” of effort to it.  Related, 34% of survey respondents bought natural or organic meat or poultry in the latest quarter, up from 26% a year ago.  Also, 38% of current users expect to buy more of it.