You Always Get What You Always Got, If You Always Do What You Always Did – The Power of Meat 2018
By Anne-Marie Roerink / March 2018Insights
Meat continues to be the largest perimeter department and is crucially important in driving store choice, traffic and basket size. But 2017 was relatively flat for meat dollars and volume. To drive growth, we need to find the key to unlocking a greater consumption frequency, taking consumption occasions from foodservice or protein alternatives. The Pork Board calculated that if just half of the US population would eat pork just one more time per year, the industry would generate an additional $400 million at retail. Imagine what sales growth could look like if food retailers were to sell beef, chicken, pork, turkey and lamb just one more time per year.
Obviously, that’s not an easy thing to do. Shoppers have their routines: 83 percent of shoppers buy a mere handful of different cuts and kinds – items that fall within their cooking comfort zone. Yet, they want variety in their meal lineup. Many find that desired variety in eating out or cooking protein alternatives such as eggs, beans and seafood. But a decent number, 42 percent, said they would branch out beyond their comfort zone, if advised. This is because the underlying reason for sticking to a limited variety of meat/poultry simply lies in people’s meat knowledge. Or rather, lack of knowledge for many.
We looked at three inputs: self-rated knowledge of how to prepare meat and poultry, marinate, season, its nutritional value, etc. and 53 percent of shoppers say they merely manage or need help. We also looked at the variety purchased and thirdly how often people cook meals that contain an actual portion of meat and poultry, whether as a center of plate item or meal ingredient. Then a very logical, yet powerful formula emerged: shoppers who are confident in their ability to prepare meat and poultry, tend to buy a greater variety of cuts and species, tend to cook with meat more often, many 5-7 times per week and all that results in greater per person spending, more weekly trips and greater store loyalty. In other words, there is a ton to be gained from equipping shoppers with more meat knowledge, skills and affinity to expand their comfort level across more cuts and species.
To sell that one extra pork chop, we have to inspire shoppers to go beyond their every day. The challenge in all that is that 71 percent of the purchase comes from the meat case – self-selected without ever interacting with a meat expert who may prompt them to branch out. On the retailer end, we tend to feed right into that comfort zone as we’re eternally chasing last year’s sales numbers and are focused on driving volume while minimizing shrink and markdowns. If we want shoppers to change their routines, we have to change ours. After all, you always get what you always got, if you always do what you always did.
One of our strongest weapons is people power. It’s more important than ever to bring friendly and knowledgeable meat associates in front of the case to be available for tips, recipes and customizing amounts. And at the same time, start leveraging all the digital tools available from blogs and vlogs, snaps and tweets to build a meat personality and trusted relationship outside the store as well.
Contributed by Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal and Founder of 210 Analytics
Anne-Marie specializes in providing customized research and marketing strategies with a specialty in food retailing for clients such as the Food Marketing Institute, National Grocers Association, National Confectioners Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association and others. Through countless studies, Anne-Marie has developed an excellent perspective on the changing nature of the shopper and the food retailing business today and the challenge of success tomorrow. Anne-Marie offers a diverse and in-depth view on retailing financials, operations and shopper behavior, and how/why these issues are important to various organizations. Prior to founding 210 Analytics, Anne-Marie was the Head of Research for the Food Marketing Institute.