The Value of Consumer Research for Retail Dietitians

The Value of Consumer Research for Retail Dietitians

April 15, 2015

As retail dietitians, you’re always looking for reliable, trustworthy sources of information to more effectively engage your shoppers. Consumer research is one such source and can be extremely useful in understanding what’s important to shoppers and why. It’s used by every successful brand, business or service provider to keep their competitive edge. From data companies such as IRI, Mintel, the NPD Group, and The Hartman Group to brands and commodity organizations; consumer research is at your fingertips. RDs can leverage this to develop highly relevant messaging, content and programs - - - all leading to increased sales for your retailer.  

For example, consumer research from the National Turkey Federation (NTF) suggests there’s an unexpected sales opportunity waiting for you in the meat case. Findings from NTF’s market research, targeting grocery shoppers ages 25-64 and published in March of this year, showed that while shoppers are quite familiar with turkey cold cuts and ground turkey, they are largely unaware of the variety of right-sized turkey cuts available all year round like cutlets, tenderloin and individually packaged breasts, thighs and legs. They are equally unfamiliar with how quick and easy turkey is to prepare when you’re not roasting a whole bird for a holiday feast. These consumer insights suggest cooking demonstrations and prepared food tastings can be effective ways for retail dietitians to expose shoppers to the convenience, healthful tastiness and variety turkey offers.

Despite this lack of familiarity, NTF’s research also revealed that when consumers were educated about turkey’s flavor profile, ease of preparation and variety of available cuts, they were excited to move out of their comfort zone and try a new take on turkey. 

Another consumer research study – the 2015 Power of Meat study commissioned by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) – also confirms consumers’ need and desire for culinary guidance. According to the FMI study, 63 percent of shoppers consider full service meat counters, where they can talk to a professional about different cuts and preparations, to be a store advantage. The fact is the more comfortable consumers feel about preparing a protein, the more likely they are to purchase and experiment with different cuts. 

So how can you use this consumer research to add more value to your shoppers’ experience? Armed with this information, you can help your shoppers be more confident in their lean protein purchase decision, and at the same time, increase your retailer’s sales in this important store department. Here are a few ways to act on this consumer research and get your shoppers thinking about – and buying – turkey:

  • Make it Special. As you know, weekly specials are a great way to motivate shoppers to try new things. Partner with buyers to understand when turkey products will be on ad, and suggest including an easy and healthful recipe in the ad so shoppers can cook with confidence. 
  • Highlight easy-to-prepare turkey cuts. Turkey tenderloin is right-sized for the average family and can be easily grilled or roasted. Cutlets, wings, drumsticks, thighs and breasts can also be grilled, broiled or roasted. If you conduct store tours, consider having the butcher, meat manager or chef available to discuss various cuts and preparation techniques.  
  • Think seasonal. Incorporate turkey into seasonal store displays. As we head into prime grilling season, suggest turkey as an unexpected alternative to the usual grilling repertoire. If you work against an editorial calendar, remember that June is Turkey Lovers’® Month. Turkey tenderloin on the grill at the annual Father’s Day barbecue is a healthy and delicious alternative! 
  • Inspire shoppers with a variety of recipes. Smoked, on kabobs –– turkey takes on flavors easily. Ethnic flavors pair perfectly with turkey so go bold and satisfy your shoppers with a taste for adventure, or keep it quick and easy for time-pressed minimalists.   

To get NTF’s full consumer research report, contact Lori Gerstley at or 410-602-0202.