Fresh beef has always been a grocery mainstay: It has urvived numerous wars on red meat, depressions and recessions, mad cow disease scares and a vari- ety of other roadblocks that could have easily been its downfall. But what does the future look like for the reliable staple as the rise of e-commerce, plant- based foods and new tariffs make the fresh meat landscape even more complicated? The issue is a crucial one, because meat is one
of the largest drivers of basket cost. According to the joint
Food Marketing Institute (FMI)/Foundation for Meat &
Poultry Education & Research 2018 Power of Meat report,
when meat is in the basket, the average spend more than
doubles, from $32 with any item to $68 with meat.
While keeping up with the changing market may seem
daunting, retailers can look at the upcoming years as an
opportunity for innovation and reinvention as long as they
stay apprised of the nuances affecting every aspect of the
Meat Is Moving Into E-Commerce
One of the assurances grocers have always gotten from
industry experts in regard to growing competition with
e-commerce is that their basket-driving fresh section will
not be severely affected, because consumers tend to be
wary of buying fresh items, and especially meat, online.
But this may no longer necessarily be true as meat makes
its way into web-only markets, which could potentially
boost consumers’ confidence in purchasing these items
For example, online better-for-you grocer Thrive Market moved out of its CPG comfort zone in April to include
frozen beef, poultry and seafood, and websites such as
1000ecofarms.com connect consumers with local farm-raised meat and other farm-fresh items. Meal kits also
often contain fresh meat as a key ingredient.
However, grocers are firing back by amping up their
delivery programs and rolling out innovative apps that
attract convenience-seeking consumers.
The App Makes the Retailer
The future of mobile retail food apps indeed looks bright,
according to a forecast from eMarketer, which primarily
focused on apps that deliver perishable items and meal kit
providers. It predicted that one in five adult mobile-com-merce buyers will use these apps to order food by next year.
This is because “shoppers are becoming more comfortable
with ordering online in general, and grocery is a part of
that,” says Patricia Orsini, eMarketer senior analyst.
While delivery time and the desire to hand-pick items
such as meat has been a deterrent against ordering fresh
items online in the past, Orsini says, “retailers have been
able to transcend these barriers with click-and-collect
models of delivery.”
Can Avoid a
With fresh beef a top driver
of the store perimeter,
grocers must keep up with
rapidly evolving consumer
demand and competitive
By Rebekah Marcarelli
meat, compared to
$32 with any item