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Sausage Sizzlin' as Strong Volume, Profit Contributor

DES MOINES, Iowa -- For retailers looing to maximize meat sales, the sizzle is definitely in the sausage, says the National Pork Board here.

According to FreshLook syndicated data, sausage represents 6 percent of total meat case volume (in dollars and pounds), and its growth is outpacing the total meat case. National Pork Board composite data for 2004 shows sausage generates 7 percent more profitability per pound than the average meat case item.

"These two points are extremely good news for retailers," said Karen Boillot, NPB's director of retail marketing. "Retailers are merchandising sausage in the fresh meat case, and retailers are reaping the benefits of this strategy."

The National Meat Case Study 2004 revealed that nearly 95 percent of supermarkets merchandise a portion or all of their sausage within the meat department. Of these stores, sausage represented 10 percent of the total packages found in the meat case. In addition, an average of 84 percent of total sausage packages are pork.

"Pork is clearly the most popular type of sausage consumers are purchasing," Boillot said. "There is evidence retailers are making pork sausage a priority too as promotion and feature support of these items has increased during the last two years."

An area of opportunity for promotion is sausage as a grilling item. Data from The NPD Group, Inc.'s National Eating Trends 2004 study shows grilling reached an all-time high last year, with more than 30 percent of households firing up the grill for dinner at least once in two weeks.

Retailers can take advantage of this grilling time period to promote sausage items. According to the National Eating Trends report, pork represents 23.9 percent of all meat that is prepared on the grill. Of that 23.9 percent, 2.9 percent is sausage items. This leaves a lot of room for sausage promotion as a grilling item.

"There is a huge opportunity for retailers to focus on promoting sausage during the grilling season," Boillot notes. "Support through features may be able to help retailers move sausage items from the meat case and add to their bottom line."
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