hen it comes to fresh proteins, the
more shoppers know, the more
they buy. Elevating consumer
confidence is especially critical
to driving sales in the premium space, where
shoppers need to understand the price-quality
relationship before they make a purchase.
With this in mind, the industry is enhancing its efforts to educate consumers through
multiple channels, including in-store, digital
and circulars—reaching shoppers where they
are, and the moment they seek answers.
It’s the idea behind Beef. It’s What’s for
Dinner’s virtual assistance tool launching
next month. Funded by the Beef Checkoff
Program, Chuck Knows Beef is powered by
Google AI and designed to educate consumers and grocery butchers on cuts and grades,
nutrition, preparation techniques and more.
“Shoppers tend to purchase just a handful of cuts with which they’re comfortable,”
says Bridget Wasser, executive director of
meat science and technology for Centennial, Colo.-based National Cattlemen’s Beef
Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef
Eighty-three percent of shoppers purchase
only a couple of meat cuts and kinds, while
42% said they would branch out, if advised,
according to the Power of Meat 2018 report,
which was published by Food Marketing
Institute and the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education, with the support of
Sealed Air’s Food Care Division.
And as grocers move butchering and fabrication off-site, consumers can be left with
more questions than answers, Wasser says.
Based on web traffic, the NCBA finds that
consumers are searching for recipes most of
all. With the Chuck assistant, consumers can
select recipes from beefitswhatsfordinner.
com, and Chuck will send a list of necessary
ingredients directly to their phones.
“This results in a seamless shopping experience that can help raise overall cart price,”
says Wasser. “It’s also an opportunity to get in
front of the shopper, as a lot of times they don’t
have the patience to wait at the meat counter.”
Users can access Chuck in-store via their
mobile phone or at home through a smart
speaker such as Alexa. Initially equipped
with the answers to the most common Google
searches on meat, Chuck gets smarter over
time as consumers continually ask questions.
It also features a recipe box function that
allows users to revisit their favorites.
“We’re confident that Chuck also has big
value to retailers, whether full-service or no
service,” says Jason Jerome, senior director
of retail engagement for NCBA. “While it’s
designed to build consumer confidence, it
can also be used for staff training in the meat
Additionally, Jerome envisions in-store
digital tabletop displays, where shoppers can
access Chuck at a self-serve case. The NCBA
will demo Chuck Knows Beef at the Annual
Meat Conference in March in Dallas.
Central Market’s Recipe for Success
As the founder and CEO of Kearney, Mo.-based Premier Proteins, which has specialized in superpremium and ultrapremium
all-natural, humanely raised wagyu beef,
grass-fed beef and Berkshire pork for nearly
two decades, Tim Haas has ample insight
into selling premium fresh proteins at grocery
retail. “There are retailers who sell wine for
$500 a bottle and olive oil for $300 a bottle,
but they don’t think they can sell a steak for
$40 a pound,” he says.
Meat & Seafood
A Case for Premium Proteins
Quality-conscious consumers are driving sales of fresh meat and poultry. By Jennifer Strailey