Meat the Experts
Farmers and retailers are changing their ways to meet
consumer demand for transparency with ingredients
and production practices. By Natalie Taylor
After years of high meat prices and the rise of pro- tein alternatives, meat and poultry are making their way back to consumers’ dinner tables. It’s good news for grocers, given that meat is the top reason for shoppers’ preferred store choice, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) most recent consumer survey, which found that retailers who are seen by consumers as “meat experts” can double overall sales per
customer when fresh meat is purchased.
Steve Brier, production director at Smithfield Foods in
Nevada, Mo., recently discussed how farmers can further
help retailers give consumers an excellent experience in
the meat department with members of the Missouri Gro-
cers Association at its recent annual meeting. “We rec-
ognize the vital connection between animal health and
human health, and are committed to being transparent
about how we raise pigs so grocers have the information
they need to address consumers’ questions,” Brier said.
Such transparency is pivotal among today’s meat buyers. Consumers, particularly Millennials, have a growing
interest in the story behind their meat purchases. Retailers, in turn, are tailoring their fresh meat cases to feature
brands that are fully transparent about nutrition, animal
welfare, food safety and their impact on the environment.
Catering to the Sophisticated Customer
One of those brands is McKenzie Country Classics, Burlington, Vt.-based McKenzie has been focusing heavily on
its clean-label, antibiotic-free meat line with last year’s
launch of an uncured Antibiotic-Free Cob Smoked Bacon,
and this year’s introduction of its Antibiotic Free Natural
American Angus Uncured Beef Frank. “The growth of the
‘never any antibiotics’ line is still our biggest opportunity
outside the state of Vermont,” says Greg Rouille, sales
director at McKenzie.