Is chicken still leading the charge in the meat department?
Andy Urban: Chicken is always going to be popular. According to
research from Rabobank, meat consumption by consumers had
its biggest jump in 2015, and consumption is expected to continue to increase to historic highs by 2018. Chicken has the biggest share of that consumption.
Of course, price remains a key driver behind consumer behavior. If prices of beef and pork remain competitive, we will see consumers buying a wider range of proteins. Reasonable feed costs
are benefitting everyone, and a rising tide lifts all boats. But I do
not see chicken losing its place as America’s favorite protein.
For the growing number of consumers who want the added
assurance of elevated attributes, all-vegetarian-fed, no-antibiotics-ever and organic options are much more readily available with
chicken than in the other proteins. Here, too, chicken has a competitive price advantage.
What can retailers do to enhance the selection and
maximize sales and profits?
Retailers can provide consumers with choices—choices that fit
their needs, lifestyles and values. That includes capitalizing on
the trends toward “simpler” food with clean labels and no-antibiotics-ever, and offering that across a wide variety of products.
Consumers should not have to choose between the attributes
they want for their families and the convenience they need in
their busy lives. Organic continues to grow in the mainstream.
The natural and organic shopper is now the mainstream shopper.
Consumers may not buy everything in the natural category, but
they are buying those items more and more—and they expect to
have that choice.
Are there other things retailers can do to help grow sales?
Consumers want to know more about their food. That is not limited to how it was raised, produced or where it came from—
though that can be very important. Consumers want shareable
experiences; they want food to become part of the story of their
day. Retailers are doing some very creative things to make shopping more of an experience. Things like food and wine pairings,
information and ideas, demonstrations—anything that engages
What is Perdue Foods doing in regard
to marketing and merchandising?
We are continuing to promote
the “Perdue Way” by adding our
“Commitments to Animal Care” to the
already strong storyline of our leadership
in “No Antibiotics Ever.” It is continuing the
tradition of responsibility to the consumer that
started with Frank Perdue, but taking it beyond the package and
expanding it to how we raise the food. It is giving consumers the
transparency and assurances they want and making them feel
good about the food they are feeding their families, while con-
tinuing to offer quality, flavor, convenience and peace of mind.
What we are doing in animal care—things like “The Five
Freedoms,” giving chickens what they want so they are healthier
and happier, getting our farmers more involved and engaging a
wide range of stakeholders—will continue. It is groundbreaking,
and we are bringing consumers along with us on our journey.
The “Perdue Way” is our brand story and it is a very powerful
story we are sharing with consumers.
Beyond the PERDUE brand, we are continuing to provide consumers with choice and transparency across a growing roster of
no-antibiotics-ever chicken, turkey and pork, including organic
and Non-GMO Project Verification.
“No Antibiotics Ever” remains a big part of our story. We are in
the final steps of converting all of our branded products to “No
Antibiotics Ever,” which will be another first for a major poultry
company. There are a lot of confusing claims out there about antibiotic use, but only one that gives consumers complete assurance
that the product they are buying is from an animal that never,
ever received any kind of antibiotic.
What does the future looks like?
Exciting. Consumers are becoming more and more engaged in
food and grocery shopping. They want more information, more
choices such as no-antibiotics-ever and organic, more flavors,
more transparency about how food is raised and produced and
more accountability for animal welfare and stewardship. The
retailers that are winning in meat are meeting those demands
and reigniting the consumer grocery shopping experience.
WITH ANDY URBAN
Andy Urban, senior vice president of sales for Perdue Foods, says
chicken remains consumers’ favorite protein.