quality foods and
the list of trends
in The Hartman
Group’s Food &
Year in Review
2017. Almost all
looking for foods
that are fresh
and real, say
with 65% of
labels to verify
Pre’s own team of approximately 100 brand ambassadors
who engage with customers at the store level. “By putting
our own people in the stores to support the brand, we create a certain velocity that assures profitability and grows
the consumer baseline quickly,” says Lebovich.
This past December, Meijer created a 12 Roasts of
Christmas, featuring a variety of recipes for roasts along
with wine pairings. And year-round, Meijer meat buyers
are on hand to personally offer shoppers tips on selecting
the perfect cut, from tender strip roasts to elegant tenderloin roasts and lean top sirloin roasts.
Meijer also reportedly sold more than $7 million in Certified Angus Beef the week leading up to Christmas day.
A remarkable 70% of the retailer’s rib roast sales happen
three days before Christmas.
Trusted Meal Solutions
In all categories, but particularly in perishables, consumers want to know the story behind their food—where it
came from, how it was produced and the path it took
to their local grocer. And while premium meat still represents a relatively small percentage of the overall category, this desire for transparency is driving growth.
“Shoppers increasingly seek transparency into
meat/poultry ingredients and production practices,
fueling double-digit growth for organic, antibiotic/
hormone-free, grass-fed and other special attributes,”
reports the Washington, D.C.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in its annual The Power of Meat 2017 report.
“According to recent studies, the butcher is the second
most trusted position in the grocery store behind the pharmacist,” says Theiler of Agri Beef. As such, skilled in-store
butchers can be a powerful resource when it comes to
educating consumers and increasing meat department
sales. “We are increasingly seeing retailers recognize the
value and credibility that a knowledgeable and creative
butcher brings to their stores in terms of helping consumers understand the types of cuts and proper cooking techniques,” he says.
Grocers who provide total meal solutions with premium
meats as a focal point can differentiate from the compe-
tition by offering the added value and service customers
seek. “We are seeing an evolution of the meat department,
as it plays an evermore important role as the incubator or
source of convenient meal solutions,” says Theiler.
Indeed, FMI finds that a growing number of consumers
are looking for the convenience of complete meal solutions
in the meat department. “Thinking like the shopper by
positioning fresh meat as part of a total meal solution ver-
sus meal component piques shopper interest,” notes FMI,
which further finds that ready-to-prepare meal kits in the
meat department draw the attention of 53% of shoppers.
A Premium Experience
“Fresh, real and less processed foods” topped the food
culture trends for 2017, according to industry thought
leaders at The Hartman Group in Bellevue, Wash. The
story is no different with meat, where consumers are looking for maximum flavor and texture, all-natural callouts
and nutritional value.
“For premium meat, the real movement today is that
consumers value more than just taste. They want good
food that’s good for them, from brands and vendors that
they trust,” says Lebovich, who says “premium meat” is
a combination of two factors.
“First and foremost, premium meat has to deliver on the
full meat-eating experience (taste, tenderness, juiciness)—
but it also must give people permission to enjoy it, enabling
them to feel good about their food choices,” he says.
The challenge for some grocers in this perishable category may be the pace at which premium meat sales are
rising. Lebovich estimates that organic, grass-fed and never-ever beef sales combined are between $800 million to
$1 billion. And while numbers for premium beef are going
up, according to Nielsen data, sales of grass-fed beef for
the 52 weeks of Q2 2017 vs. 2016 showed about 3% growth.
“Three percent growth is fairly disappointing, especially when you consider there was a 20% growth in
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.” —Lenny Lebovich, Pre Brands
Meat & Seafood