Meat Prowess Gives Supermarkets an Edge: FMI/AMI Study

WASHINGTON -- Traditional supermarkets can use meat products to successfully differentiate themselves from other retail channels, according to "The Power of Meat: An In-Depth Look at Meat Through the Shoppers' Eyes," a new consumer attitudinal research study issued jointly yesterday by the Food Marketing Institute and the American Meat Institute.

The research additionally found that price is the most important factor that shoppers use when they’re deciding what kind of meat to buy.

"Effective meat marketing and merchandising strategies provide supermarkets with a prime opportunity to differentiate their stores from other venues and grow their customer base," noted FMI s.v.p. Michael Sansolo.

Data for the report was gathered through an online representative sample of 1,750 U.S. consumers 18 years old or older with the primary or equally shared responsibility of household food shopping, and not a declared vegetarian or vegan. The margin of error of the survey is 2.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

The overwhelming majority (86 percent) of consumers who mainly shop at supermarkets remain loyal to their primary supermarkets when they buy meat. When they do venture into alternative formats, they're likely to go to a warehouse club or butcher shop (4.7 percent each).

Conversely, just over half (58.7 percent) of shoppers who normally go to supercenters for their weekly shops also buy meat products there, while more than one-quarter (26.5 percent) of those shoppers opt to buy their beef, chicken, and pork at conventional supermarkets.

Shoppers are equally divided on how much meat they buy, and when they use it. A little more than (51 percent) buy meat in large quantities and freeze for future use, vs. those shoppers (49 percent) who use their meat purchases within a few days.

Price has the biggest influence on the cut or type, amount, and location of meat bought. Nearly 90 percent of shoppers compare meat prices within the store, while 80 percent compare prices across multiple stores.

Other key factors identified by shoppers as boosting their overall meat purchases included, in descending order of popularity: better quality of meat products and cuts; more/better variety of meat products and cuts, more/better customer assistance and guidance; more information on where meat is produced; more/better recipes; and more/better signage for meat categories.

Nearly one-fifth of shoppers (17.4 percent) have bought organic meat in the past three months, and almost half of those purchases (48 percent) were made at conventional supermarkets. Natural and organic food stores made up 29 percent of organic purchases, followed by butcher shops (10 percent), supercenters (9.3 percent), and warehouse clubs (1.1 percent). Reasons given by shoppers for buying organic meat included superior taste, better nutritional value, long-term health benefits, enhanced product freshness and curiosity about the differences between organic and nonorganic meats.

Funding for the study was provided in part by the Cryovac Division of Sealed Air. Report highlights were first presented at the Annual Meat Conference, co-sponsored by FMI and AMI. Highlights from future editions of the report will be presented annually at the conference.
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