Meat prices main driver for US shoppers’ decisions

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Meat, Marketing

Meat prices main driver for US shoppers’ decisions
Price per pound is still the most important decision factor for US consumers, followed for the first time by total package cost, according to the American Meat Institute (AMI).

The organisation has released the results of its seventh annual Power of Meat study, revealing that price has overtaken product appearance in consumers’ purchasing decisions. For the first time this year, the number of shoppers choosing to buy less meat in order to spend less equalled the number of shoppers opting for other money-saving measures, such as price comparison and use of coupons. AMI pointed out that volume sales dropped by 5.3% last year, despite a 2.5% increase in revenue.

Most of the meat consumed in the US is purchased from supermarkets, and in-store signage and promotions operations are more and more important, the study also revealed. “Price-related promotions are especially effective for steering people to a certain kind of meat or poultry and slightly less effective for the amount purchased,”​ AMI added.

Consumers still buy private-brand meat and poultry, but tend to switch from one brand to another according to promotions. Natural and organic meat also experienced a strong year, with an increase in the number of buyers to 24% of shoppers. However, the organisation pointed out: “Shoppers’ reduced interest in volume-based discounts, such as bulk and buy-one-get one free, as measured last year, did not rebound any this year.”

The report also stated that shoppers tend to buy more fresh meat and less ready-to-eat, with particular growth in the marinade sector. When it comes to packaging, consumers are open to innovations aimed at reducing food waste, but are not willing to pay a premium for ‘green’ packaging.

When asked what retailers could do to encourage meat and poultry purchases, 30% of shoppers said nothing could influence them to purchase more, but the rest mentioned improving quality and variety.

The research was conducted by 210 Analytics and commissioned jointly by AMI and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). The report, presented at the 2012 Annual Meat Conference in Orlando, Florida on 21 February, details the results of a national online poll of 1,340 consumers carried out in November.

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