ower prices coupled with America’s penchant
for protein could signal record meat consumption in 2018. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) forecasts that the average
consumer will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry
this year, surpassing a record set more than a decade ago.
However, it’s more than the right price and eschewing
carbs that’s driving meat department sales.
“The buzz continues to be better-for-you options. Grass-fed, hormone-free, non- GMO certified, humanely raised,
organic—those are the growth areas in the meat sector,”
says Lenny Lebovich, CEO of Pre Brands in Chicago.
Jay Theiler, executive director of marketing for Agri
Beef in Boise, Idaho, agrees. “Higher-quality beef is definitely on the rise, as evidenced by the growing percentage
of USDA Choice cattle that are produced by our industry.
Consumers want to enjoy higher-quality, premium beef,
and they are willing to pay for it.”
While labor remains a challenge for many grocers
across the country, some supermarkets are finding suc-
cess with what Lebovich calls,“doubling down on butcher
services”—making a strategic move to expand their ser-
vices at a time when other retailers are cutting back.
ShopRite Showcases Expertise
Take Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp.’s
ShopRite stores, whose highly trained butchers serve as
in-house experts, helping to elevate the customer shopping experience.
“We do believe our premium butcher service sets us
apart from many other supermarkets,” says Karen O’Shea
of Wakefern. “Few supermarkets offer both the expertise
of in-store butchers and the guaranteed freshness of daily
deliveries. But ShopRite offers both, with butcher service
similar to the old-fashioned corner meat market.”
Whatever the season, ShopRite butchers strive to offer
a level of personal service that encourages repeat busi-
ness and customer loyalty. “Because ShopRite butchers
can custom-cut meat and take orders from customers,
butchers can always tailor their services to a customer’s
needs,” says O’Shea. “For example, ShopRite butchers
often see an increase during the summer months in the
number of customers seeking to get their steaks cut.”
ShopRite butchers grind fresh beef daily in stores, and
are available to cut beef, pork, lamb and veal. They will
also marinate and season meat upon request.
The grocer recently expanded its organic and natural
selections to meet the growing demand for healthful premium meats. “More shoppers today are seeking grass-fed, organic and pasture-raised meats, and ShopRite provides a variety of organic and natural foods in the meat
department,” says O’Shea.
ShopRite of Hillsdale, which is owned and operated by
the Inserra family as part of their Inserra Supermarkets Inc.,
recently opened one of the first USDA-certified organic
butcher shops in a supermarket. The store’s butchers can
custom-cut organic beef, poultry and pork on a USDA-certified counter dedicated to organic food preparation.
Meijer’s Masterful Touch
Another notable stepping up its in-store butcher game is
Meijer, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 235 supercenters and grocery stores.
“Meijer does a masterful job with the meat category,”
says Lebovich, who also points to Mariano’s, a division of
Cincinnati-based Kroger, as a standout in supermarket
Pre Brands premium meats are offered throughout
both grocers’ locations, and the brand is supported by
Meat & Seafood
From grass-fed to organic, high-quality meats offer
untapped opportunity for grocers as demand for fresh
and better-for-you food swells. By Jennifer Strailey
Amount of of
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