Branding, On-pack Headline 2010 Meat Case Study Results

More extensive use of branding, enhanced consumer information, and case-ready and natural-positioned products are factoring more heavily in retail meat cases, according to the results of the "2010 National Meat Case Study" (NMCS).

Based on an extensive audit of retail meat cases, key highlights of the latest study, which illustrate how retailers have adapted to meet customer demand vs. 2007, include:

  • Branding: The percent of packages carrying a store brand grew to 36 percent, tripling since 2004. Store brands have increased significantly across all proteins.
  • Consumer Information: This also increased, with more packages including nutrition information (61 percent) and cooking instructions (39 percent). The 2010 audit also captured packages that included country-of-origin labeling and bilingual labeling.
  • Case-ready: The amount of products in the meat case now represents 66 percent of all protein products, which are either maintaining or increasing their penetration levels over previous audits.
  • Natural Claims: The percentage of products with a natural claim grew in 2010 to 32 percent, up 10 percentage points from 2004.

"The results from the 2010 NMCS give us great insight into the way the meat case has transformed over the past three years,” said Jerry Kelly, national retail account manager for Sealed Air's Duncan, S.C.-based Cryovac brand, which funded the annual meat case benchmark study with the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board (NPB).

“Our economy has gone through a great deal of change since we performed our last audit in 2007,” continued Kelly. “As a result, these findings can help us to understand some of the implications of that change for the retail meat case.”

Jarrod Sutton, AVP, channel marketing for the Des Moines, Iowa-based National Pork Board (NPB), concurs. “This year’s 'National Meat Case Study' showed some major shifts in how retailers are merchandising fresh meat product to their customers. As consumers continue to demand transparency and more information about the products they purchase, we expect to see these numbers shift even more in the coming years.”

Another finding in the 2010 study  was “the increase in value/family packs across several proteins, as retailers met the needs of parents looking to feed their growing families on a budget,” added Jim Henger, executive director of marketing for the Centennial, colo.-based  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which contracts to manage retail programs for the Beef Checkoff.

The NMCS audit included information from 124 retail supermarkets and nine club stores in 51 metro markets across 31 states on various days and at random times. Texas Tech University conducted the bulk of the data collection, and First Stage Marketing provided data analysis.

These key findings represent only a small amount of the detailed information available in the entire 2010 NMCS. Additional information can be found in the executive summary, available at

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