Power of Meat: Transparency, Convenience, Wellness Are Retail Megatrends

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Power of Meat: Transparency, Convenience, Wellness Are Retail Megatrends

2010 Analytics Principal and founder Anne-Marie Roerink presenting research at the 2018 Annual Meat Conference

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education, the foundation for the North American Meat Institute, released the 13th annual “Power of Meat” report on the meat planning, shopping and consumption habits of consumers. Released at the 2018 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, Tenn., the study identifies megatrends influencing meat purchases, among them transparency, convenience, value, personalization, customer service, and health and wellness.

“More than 50 percent of shoppers say they have limited knowledge of meat and poultry, and the research demonstrates that shoppers who are more knowledgeable about meat tend to purchase an extensive variety of meats and cook with meat more often,” said Rick Stein, VP of fresh foods at Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “The research makes me enthusiastic for the teaching opportunities the entire industry can embrace to forge better relationships with shoppers, offering resources for meat and poultry preparation methods.”

Although they may lack preparation knowledge, 79 percent of shoppers said that they believe they have enough information available to them to make informed decisions on the nutrition and healthfulness of various meat and poultry cuts, up by 10 percentage points in 2016 — the last time the study posed this question.

Seven in 10 shoppers said they were interested in a range of package sizes for portion control, in addition to on-pack dietary callouts/information, with protein content, total fat and sodium the most cited. The research also found that transparency is spurring purchases, as consumers seek products with more information relating to companies’ corporate and social responsibility practices.

“Meat and poultry companies have responded to the demand for more information about their products, offering a range of options including natural, organic, hormone-free and antibiotic-free, which have proven popular with consumers,” said Barry Carpenter, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Meat Institute. “The industry has also developed numerous resources to help educate consumers about how our products are made, from our Glass Walls videos to Meat MythCrushers to the MyMeatUp app developed to help shoppers navigate the meat department.”

This year, one of the biggest trends noted in the report was consumers’ greater willingness to buy meat online, with the share of shoppers who’ve done so at least once rising from 4 percent in 2015 to 19 percent in 2018. Among the other considerations were the increased pull from conventional supermarkets by both upscale fresh and value grocers.

Further, illustrating the desire for convenience and opportunities in omnichannel and assortment, more shoppers are frequently purchasing value-added meat/poultry: 21 percent of respondents do so in 2018, versus 9 percent just two years ago.

“The Power of Meat” was conducted by San Antonio-based 210 Analytics and made possible by Charlotte, N.C.-based Sealed Air's Food Care Division.