millennial walks into the grocery store…
It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but
consider this: An inexperienced shopper is
looking to buy a hearty protein for dinner.
The meat case is filled with an assortment of fresh-look-ing items, but what do all the different cuts and styles
mean? Chuck flap? Tenderloin? Brisket? Regardless of
how unfamiliar the shopper may be with the meat category, one thing he or she will certainly recognize and trust
is a brand name.
Decrease in Cermak’s
raw shell-on shrimp
sales, vs. 125% growth
for prepeeled shrimp.
Value-added meat and seafood products entice
shoppers with the appeal of quick meals and
adventurous chops and flavors. By Natalie Taylor
A Cut Above
While the majority of fresh meat is not branded, but
rather cut and packaged in the retailer’s back room or in
case-ready packages under the retailer’s brand, one of the
most influential aspects of branding in the supermarket
industry is in the meat case.
According to FMI’s The Power of Meat 2017, consumers are more willing to try higher-quality, premium cuts
of meats, and they’re more likely to stick to brand names,
while worrying less about comparing prices on their path
to purchase. First and foremost, delivering a consistent,
high-quality product is key to driving sales and building
brand loyalty across the entire meat category.
Adding Allure With Value
Value-added meats are gaining in popularity, according
to The Power of Meat 2017, including items that are pre-
marinated, precut or preseasoned. “These products will
continue to grow as long as we can continue to add value
in a quick meal replacement,” says David MacVane, VP
of retail at Wooster, Ohio-based Certified Angus Beef
(CAB). “The industry at one point almost went too far
because we went from fresh meat to a totally cooked,
whole meal replacement. I don’t know if that’s what [con-
sumers were] really looking for.”
Instead, MacVane says shoppers are increasingly seek-
ing fresh meat that’s marinated and properly portioned,
which is why Certified Angus Beef keeps its portions to
around 12 ounces and offers a variety of marinades. For
instance, at its recent annual Beef Bash conference in
Nashville, CAB showcased its slow-roasted, ready-to-
cook Marinated Petite Filets, available in steakhouse,
teriyaki and bourbon flavors.
Consumers are making this shift with their seafood
purchases, too. Cermak Fresh Market, based in Chicago, has noticed a decline in fresh seafood items that
require additional prep time, like stone crab claws,
whole lobsters and whole shell-on fish. Sales of raw
shell-on shrimp have dropped 87%, according to Jessy
Rodriguez, Cermak’s meat and seafood director, but
prepeeled shrimp sales have spiked 125%. “Trends have
shifted toward more consumer-friendly items,” says
Rodriguez, including marinated filets, salmon kebabs
and homemade ceviche.
Cermak also offers free merchandising at the store
level, where shoppers can purchase a whole fish to be
descaled, steaked or filleted at no additional cost. Despite
adding a dollar to the initial retail price to offset the extra
labor costs, the 15-store retailer has seen a positive impact
on gross dollars and overall volume. “We’re trying to eliminate as many prep steps for the consumer as possible, so
that the one thing they have to do is just turn on their stove
or grill and have a meal in the shortest amount of time
possible,” says Rodriguez.
1 Fresh Business Meat & Seafood