Launched by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education, the foundation for the North American Meat Institute, the 2019 Power of Meat Analysis is an “annual exploration into how to best optimise meat and poultry’s role in today’s food culture: the way we eat, shop and live”.
One of the key suggestions in the analysis is that food retailers and meat supplier partners should align their thinking with the shopper who considers their meat purchase as a meal occasion and not necessarily relegated to one area of the store.
It stated that consumers increasingly shop across the full meat offering, from the meat case and counter, to the frozen aisle and deli. Across all departments, convenience-focused meat and poultry saw robust growth in 2018, including value-added (+5.1%), fully-cooked (+2.5%) and frozen (+2.2%).
The report called on retailers and suppliers to consider new ways to help shoppers plan multiple meal meat purchases. Currently, four-in-ten shoppers buy meat/poultry for meals to cover several days; 35% buy more than they need to freeze and use over time; and 23%, particularly Gen Z and Younger Millennials, buy meat and poultry for one meal at a time.
After 13 years, the printed circular read pre-trip is no longer the most frequently used promotional platform. The print ad is surpassed by checking in-store promotional signage. Digital, social and mobile are growing as well, such as a digital version of the traditional circular (up 38%), in-store app (up 24%) and social media deals (up 12%).
This erosion of the printed circular’s dominance suggested a need to consider creative new ways of engaging the meat shopper. According to the survey, while 52% of shoppers decide on what they’ll purchase in-store, 23% decide long before setting foot in the meat department.
“The trends point to opportunities for retailers and suppliers to collaborate on ways to both educate and inspire our shoppers,” said FMI vice president of fresh foods Rick Stein. “The onus is on us to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, as 74% of shoppers are looking for something as simple as flipping routine meals that they already know how to cook into a different culinary experience.”
The report also highlighted how shoppers were increasingly turning to food to help manage health and well-being. It stated: “They seek to understand what is in their food, who made it and how it was produced, and meat is no exception. In the meat department, two-thirds of shoppers look for better-for-me items and around three-in-10 look for products that are better for the planet, farmers, workers or animals.
It found that 86% of US shoppers interviewed described themselves as meat eaters, but the data suggested a younger generation was increasingly reporting a flexitarian regime, categorised as a mostly vegetarian diet with occasional meat and poultry consumption. For instance, among Generation Z, 13% ate a flexitarian diet versus just 6% of Boomers. Women, at 15%, were also more likely to be flexitarians than men, at 6%.
Meat did not seem to benefit from increased consumer interest in protein as many were unaware of meat’s high protein content. Shoppers reported being open to blended alternatives, such as beef and mushroom burgers, as 63% said they would ‘maybe’ or ‘definitely’ purchase blended meat and plant items.