Leaders from grocery chain Food City accept Certified Angus Beef's Retailer of the Year Award, flanked by Brand President John Stika and VP of Retail David O'Diam
Amid the barbecue smoke that wafted over the western North Carolina mountains this past week, several supermarket operators were recognized for their efforts to boost awareness and sales of beef.
And despite the continued rise of plant-based products and other alternative proteins, beef remains a strong sales driver for retailers, particularly those leveraging the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand in their meat departments.
“Our retail partners really enhanced their offerings, adding Certified Angus Beef brand Prime, as well as ground beef and burgers in stores,” David O’Diam, VP of retail, said during the brand’s annual conference, held Sept. 23-25 at the Omni Grove Park Inn, in scenic Asheville, N.C. “Quality-minded grocers and their customers trust the brand because of its assured quality across the meat case, deli, to-go meals and frozen foods, giving consumers the ultimate choice of meal solutions for their families and special occasions.”
To be sure, value-added suppliers are incorporating quality raw materials from Certified Angus Beef into retail products like burgers, deli meats, beef-based bacon (under the Schmacon trademark), and even retail-ready burnt ends, a favorite among barbecue fans.
But grocery retailers stood out among those on the front lines merchandising their meat departments to capitalize on shopper need-states and drive basket ring with inspiration for meal solutions and total store success.
Topping the list of grocers earning the applause of processors, distributors, chefs, retailers and cattle ranchers attending the conference was Abingdon, Va.-based Food City, named CAB’s Retailer of the Year.
“Food City has set the bar on quality and service in the Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee region by offering the Certified Angus Beef brand for 20 years, and by having trained butchers in stores to cut the meat and assist customers,” brand leaders said.
The retailer – whose Johnson City, Tenn., store (a one-time Progressive Grocer Store of the Month) was included on an afternoon retail tour during the conference – introduced the brand‘s Prime line in its stores this year and featured the branded beef in promotions for Father’s Day, summer grilling and holiday roasting, as well as in weekly circulars and in-store signage.
Meijer received Certified Angus Beef's Retail Large Chain Marketer of the Year and Retail Value-Added Products Marketer of the Year awards
Other award winners included:
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer Inc., which received both the Retail Large Chain Marketer of the Year and Retail Value-Added Products Marketer of the Year awards. The first award recognized Meijer’s expertise in offering a wide selection of the brand’s fresh cuts, ground beef and Certified Angus Beef brand Prime. Timesaving meal solutions for the value-added products honor included Certified Angus Beef brand Wahlburgers at Home, Ebel’s summer sausage, deli meats, marinated cuts and frozen burgers, all of which were promoted in advertising and the weekly circular. Meijer team trainings helped staff assist customers with product selections, guiding the company to earn the Top Sales Volume Large Chain Retailer and Top Retail Sales Volume Increase awards.
Independent grocer Trig's, based in Minocqua, Wis., was named the Retail Small Chain Marketer of the Year. Trig’s stores offer CAB’s regular and Prime lines, plus bistro burger selections. This year, the grocer’s team visited a local Angus farm to understand the brand’s dedication to quality. The beef brand was promoted in social media, advertising, radio and store signage.
ShopRite, in Keasbey, N.J., was honored as the Retail Brand Extension Marketer of the Year. The retailer offered a wide selection of branded beef and introduced CAB’s Prime line. Weekly features and advertising led customers to the meat case for their favorite cuts, where meat department staff kept the cases well stocked and visited with customers regarding their product selections. Combined with training, the focus on quality helped ShopRite to receive the brand’s No. 2 Sales Volume Large Chain Retailer award as well.
Lou's Thrifty-Way Market, in Norfolk, Neb., received the Independent Retail Marketer of the Year award. The single store’s meat department, where the Certified Angus Beef brand is featured weekly, was key to its success. Signature beef cuts included Lou’s 2-pound tomahawk and T-bone steaks. Televisions in stores and ongoing promotions shared information about the branded beef with customers.
St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets was recognized as the Retail Rising Star award for a large chain. The grocer renewed its focus on distinguishing itself from competitors by centering the meat case on the branded beef’s tenderness and flavor, and the store’s in-house meat butchers. Extensive promotions, including front-page features on the weekly circular, in-store signage and trained meat staff, elevated the grocer’s success with the brand, as Schnucks celebrated its 25th year of offering the premium beef.
Strack & Van Til, based in Highland, Ind., was honored with the Retail Rising Star award for a small chain. Strack & Van Til added Certified Angus Beef Prime and ground beef in stores and featured the brand regularly on its circular’s front page and in social media. Team training helped managers introduce the new products to customers.
La Michoacana Meat Market, in Houston, was named the Retail Rookie of the Year. La Michoacana centers its meat department on Certified Angus Beef. The grocer featured the brand for all taco meat and in-store carniceritas. To let customers know about the beef’s quality, La Michoacana created a video podcast to empower employees to share information with shoppers. The brand was promoted on store signage, in social media and advertising, and at the grocer's Feria Del Taco events.
Georgia Main Food Group Ltd., in Burnaby, British Columbia, was recognized as the International Retail Chain Marketer of the Year. The retailer featured the brand in more than 36 weekly front-page ads this year, namely at Fresh St. Market and IGA locations. Additionally, it gave shoppers more reasons to come into stores for great-tasting beef and meal ideas with year-round promotions, including a sizzling summer beef campaign and meat thermometer giveaway during roasting season.
Additionally, these retailers and distributors were recognized for leading Certified Angus Beef brand product sales for the year: