Retailers that astutely merchandise a variety of proteins that tie in with produce and center
store items can break the bank during summer grilling season. BY RICHARD TURCSIK
EACH SUMMER MORE CONSUMERS ARE DISCOVERING THE JOYS OF OUTDOOR GRILLING, broaden- ing their palates beyond steaks and burgers to other proteins like
marinated pork tenderloins and fish, as well as
a garden full of vegetables from guacamole to
onions and potatoes.
Since meat supplies are higher this summer,
prices will likely be lower, spurring even more
would be chefs to fire up the barbecue.
“We will have an ample pork supply this
summer grilling season,” says Patrick Fleming,
director of market intelligence and innovation at the National Pork Board, based in Des
Moines, Iowa. “We expect to have 1.5 percent
more hogs this summer than last summer and
pork will be a good value.
“We encourage retailers to think about
merchandising specific dishes to consumers
as grilling season approaches,” Fleming says.
“Think about featuring mouth-watering pho-
tography of pork dishes, tempting consumers’
taste buds at the meat case. Pork chops, back
ribs, spareribs, St. Louis style ribs and country
ribs are all great options. Pork belly is another
opportunity for the grill. This cut has a higher
fat ratio, making it a delicious option for con-
sumers looking to indulge.”
Retailers can expect the beef supply to be
marginally higher, says Kent Harrison, vice
president of marketing and premium pro-
grams for Tyson Fresh Meats, based in Dakota
Dunes, S.D. “There will be a significant drop
in cattle prices, along with boxed beef prices.
This should give retailers the opportunity to
feature more beef deals at retail,” he says.
Retailers may wish to promote value-added products in their meat case, like Tyson
Crafted Creations, a line of uniquely flavored
beef, pork and chicken cuts, Harrison says.
“Retailers should also promote the versatility of the grill and give consumers new ideas
on how to use the grill to make great meals.
Many consumers might not be familiar with
slow roasting, using dry heat or indirect heat
to prepare meat cuts,” he says.
“Summer barbecues are a perfect opportunity for backyard enthusiasts to showcase their
talent,” says Jay Theiler, executive director of
marketing at Agri Beef, based in Boise, Idaho.
“The value of a knowledgeable and passionate
associate in the meat department shouldn’t be
underestimated. Providing customers with
recommendations and tips that will impress
their guests goes a long way for building trust
and establishing loyalty,” Theiler adds.
Among Agri Beef’s brands are Snake River
Farms, Double R Ranch, St. Helens and Rancho
El Oro. Buying branded beef is a great way for
consumers to ensure that the product matches
up with their personal values, Theiler says.
“Every brand has a story and a connection
to a unique supply chain,” Theiler says. “This
story and supply chain, along with the associated values of the brand and company is
what differentiates a brand from a no-name
Brand names also signify quality, manufacturers say.
“Grilling season is the perfect time for the
meat department to be the center of retailer
marketing, and the Certified Angus Beef brand
is certainly a key differentiating brand within
the department,” says Tara Adams, director of
supplier and account marketing at Certified
Angus Beef, based in Wooster, Ohio.
Steaks and ground beef remain the summer cornerstones, but other cuts are becoming more popular for grilling Adams notes.
“Retailers are introducing more end cuts for
grilling, like skirt, hanger and flank steaks, as
well as short ribs and chuck flaps,” she says.
“When you grill these end cuts, it’s more
important than ever to have premium marbling, which Certified Angus Beef delivers.”
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