Retailers Focus on the “Power of Meat”

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

Farmers work hard every day to produce livestock and poultry that ultimately ends up available for purchase by consumers. Meat and poultry is a $67 billion business in the US, so what drives consumers to actually make a purchase is very important to retailers.

The “Power of Meat 2019” is an annual retail food survey that explores shopper perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding fresh and processed meat and poultry. Conducted by 210 Analytics LLC for the Food Marketing Institute, the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education, and the North American Meat Institute, the study was sponsored by Sealed Air and presented at the 2019 Meat Conference.

Highlighted below are findings from the survey that identify consumer trends that influence meat purchases.

  • Eating meat is still commonplace as 86 percent of shoppers classify themselves as meat eaters, 5 percent follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, and 10 percent describe their eating as flexitarian. Vegan and flexitarian eaters tend to be younger shoppers.
  • Meal inspiration for 75 percent of American consumers comes from routine meals that they know and have experienced. An important source for non-routine meals tends to be social media, various recipe websites, as well as friends and family.
  • How meat is actually prepared is another important consumer component. 66 percent of shoppers prepare fresh meat and poultry that is purchased uncooked. Younger shoppers are much more likely to buy and serve fully-cooked meat or a combination of the two. Four to five kitchen appliances are generally used. The stove, oven, grill and crockpot are the appliances of choice still, but the instant pot and air fryer are gaining popularity, especially with younger cooks.
  • While print ads have led for 13 years as the promotional platform used by shoppers, this year’s study showed that in-store promotional signage is the current leading platform. Promotions on social media, digital, and mobile sources are growing resources as well.
  • Pork, beef, and chicken still dominate the American plate, and shoppers frequent the meat counter more often than any other section of the grocery store. Interestingly, 40 percent of shoppers buy enough meat and poultry to last a few days. 35 percent buy more than needed immediately in order to freeze a portion, and 23 percent buy for one meal at a time.
  • Shoppers continue to embrace brand preferences and are generally inclined to purchase brands they are familiar with.
  • The supermarket is still the primary source for shoppers to buy meat and poultry. Less than 1 percent of shoppers use the web as their main source for groceries while 39 percent do supplement store trips with online orders.
  • Forty percent of shoppers have purchased meal kits in the past year through retail or delivery, and the biggest factor in repeat purchases of the meal kits is the quality of the meat.

Overall the survey offered meat retailers three main areas for improvement based on shopper suggestions – better pricing of meat/poultry, an improved customer service experience, as well as the availability of more variety.

This article adapted from the full report and “Power of Meat 2019 — Top 10 Food Culture Trends.”