Overthepastfewyears, themeat department dealt with chal- lenge after challenge related to supply. Since it accounts
for 37 percent of total fresh perimeter
sales, disruptions in the meat department
can have wide-reaching impact on total
store success. Today, the industry faces the
downward swing of price deflation across
the meat department at the rate of roughly
4 percent for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 25.
Consumers responded to decreased pric-
ing, resulting in a volume sales increase of
2 percent compared to the previous year.
But between deflationary prices and vol-
ume rising at half that rate, retailers and
suppliers are left with overall sales declines.
Finding those of growth and opportunity
to drive both dollars and units is a critical
need across the industry.
Interest and sales in meat with produc-
tion claims like organic, grass-fed and anti-
biotic free, continues to climb, but which
hood of claims to impact meat purchases,
mone-free or antibiotic-free claims make
them more likely to purchase that product.
Even though consumers are looking for
these claims, it does not always mean they
actually understand them. In the same survey, 56 percent of shoppers could not identify the correct definition of antibiotic-free.
Consumer education around what these
different production claims truly mean
remains a crucial need in the meat industry.
As the meat department looks for new
was not a high protein source, incorrectly
assigning these proteins 20 grams of protein
per serving. Somewhat alarmingly for meat
retailers and manufacturers, 32 percent of
respondents stated that peanut butter was
a high-protein source. The misconceptions
underline the continued need for clear mes-
saging for consumers focused on meat’s
core nutritional value.
Reaching consumers with your product
values is imperative, but it is not easy. As
our population becomes more technologically connected, more polarized by income,
more multicultural and multigenerational,
the dynamics of households continue to
change. The once simple path to purchase
for consumers has splintered and is now
influenced by countless touchpoints.
To put it another way, it is more important than ever to understand consumers’
purchasing decisions. Consumer knowledge allows you to understand what is
most important and provide direction in an
increasingly complicated market. In a 2016
study, Nielsen found a distinct difference
between the consumer’s pre-store behavior and decisions they make in-store at the
point of purchase.
For pre-store behavior, we found that
over time, consumers have a pre-deter-mined product set they are working with
every time they walk into the store—or click
the webpage. This product set is defined by
their cooking aptitude. Regardless of other
value attributes of a product, like price or
production claim, if the product is not in
their “aptitude set” it is out of the consumer’s consideration for purchase.
Once you have the consumers’ competitive set, other in-store factors influence and
define our priorities. Three groups of priorities become important. The first is cost,
followed by intended use of the product
and the third is value claims, which include
considerations like brand and production
claims. As you shift across the different proteins in the department, the importance of
these groups shifts.
The rate of change of the consumer
decision-making process is daunting, but
impactful strategies at retail.