WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS JANUARY 2018 57
Meat and Seafood
Pork’s share of
total protein sold
Group Retail Meat Database
Fresh protein remains a powerful way for grocers to drive
traffic and win shopper loyalty. By Rebekah Marcarelli
eat and seafood are indispensable ingredients when it comes to driving traffic to a
store. Consumers are not likely to buy their
favorite cut of steak online, and they still rely
heavily on their local grocery store to provide them with
their fresh meat and seafood needs. These sections thrive
on not only variety and consistency, but also visual appeal
Meat is the top reason for store choice, according to
the latest consumer research from the Food Marketing
Institute, which revealed that retailers who are seen by
consumers as “meat experts” can double overall sales per
customer on relevant purchase occasions.
The high-volume selling power of fresh meat and sea-
Meat and Seafood 2.0
food has inspired many retailers to get creative with their
meat departments, stocking premium, better-for-you and
on-trend items that keep their meat case fresh and rele-
vant, along with applying innovative ideas to add value
and excitement to the section.
Case in point: Encino, Calif.-based Gelson’s Markets is
adding a grilling station to one of its stores. The feature
will allow customers to select any meat or seafood item
from the case and have experts grill it on-site, with their
choice of dry rub or liquid marinade.
Gelson’s also added a seafood bar to one of its stores,
which Sean Saenz, senior director of meat and seafood
operations, says is one of the biggest innovative next steps
for the 28-store regional retailer. Customers can sit down
and order items such as seafood chowder, steamed lob-
ster and ahi tuna poke, which helps Gelson’s showcase
its high-quality seafood selection. More evidence of its
continued fresh innovation: Gelson’s has also installed
a next-generation, build-your-own poke bowl station
with steamed brown or white rice, 10 seafood salads and
upwards of 15 toppings and sauces to choose from.
Another example of a retailer focusing on meat and
seafood innovation is Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spar-
tanNash, which recently renovated the meat department
in its Forest Hills Foods store, where it tests out new
concepts and services, to accommodate more signature
items. The meat department now features more than 20
fresh, store-made varieties of sausages and hot dogs and
offers a large selection of organic, natural and grass-fed
options, as well as an expanded seafood department with
just-caught fish flown in six days per week.
Additionally, the retailer has partnered with a craft
brewery to co-brand three flavors of Open Acres premium
craft beer brats. Two of the flavors are Open Acres mainstays, with others rotated in on a seasonal basis.
Health Takes Hold
Larry Pierce, EVP of merchandising and marketing for
SpartanNash, says beef continues to be the main sales
driver for the company’s retail stores and independent customers. However, there has also been an increase in the
popularity of its service counters as consumers continue
to gain interest in value-added, niche and specialty items.
On the other hand, Saenz says he has noticed that as
customers seek healthier and leaner options, the cuts
of meat that used to be go-tos, such as grilling steaks,
have been partially replaced by poultry and seafood.
He believes the biggest trends on the market today are
the growth of organic poultry—which is one of Gelsons’
highest growth items in fresh meat—and seafood salads,
Saenz advises that while following these trends is
important, having a constant standard for quality is one of
the most important factors in the success of a meat case.
Getting to the Meat
(and Seafood) of It
renovated the meat
department in its Forest
Hills Foods store.