The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education — the foundation for the North American Meat Institute — recently released their 13th annual exploration into the meat planning, shopping and consumption habits of consumers. The Power of Meat 2018 identifies mega-trends influencing meat purchases, including transparency, convenience, value, personalization, customer service and health and wellness.

The Power of Meat found that consumers’ enthusiasm for meat is back to 2012 levels, with the average home eating four meals a week with meat or poultry, according to the report.

The report finds that more than 50 percent of shoppers say they have limited knowledge of meat and poultry.  However, 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, FMI vice president of Fresh Foods.  “Meat can remain a crucial area for driving customer loyalty and competitive advantages by addressing the various population groups; increasingly different approaches to meat through targeted advertising, marketing, and merchandising,” Stein said.

Thirty-eight percent of shoppers would value a customer service associate in the meat case to offer tips or servings suggestions.  Shoppers are most interested in recipes with familiar cuts, which could be a starting point for building a trusted relations.

Outright brand preferences in both fresh and processed meat reached their highest points in 12 years.  Shoppers cite a general inclination for buying familiar brands. While brand preference is high, 62 percent of shoppers say promotions can drive a trial of a brand they do not normally purchase.

Nearly 80 percent of shoppers feel sufficient health and nutrition information is available for making educated meat decisions on the nutrition and healthfulness of various meat and poultry, while they concentrate on choosing leaner cuts and moderating consumption.

Increases in consumption frequency and household penetration drove gains in heat-and-eat, ready-to- eat and value-added meat.  In addition, consumers are noticing all-natural, organic, grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free claims on meat and poultry packages.  Claim awareness has the highest positive impact on purchase likelihood for humanly raised, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free.

Price per pound has the highest influence on the ultimate meat or poultry purchase for the 11th year, followed by appearance.  Supermarkets are the lead channel for the meat purchase through strong primary shopper conversion and for secondary shoppers.  Conventional supermarkets lost share, while value and specialty supermarkets gained.

Online meat purchases still lag grocery e-commerce, but 19 percent have ordered meat online at least once and others show a much greater willingness to try than seen before, particularly when fulfilled by their primary meat store.

The research also showed that transparency of product quality and freshness to accurately judge value, greater variety, including pack size, cuts/kinds and specialty items as well as better pricing and promotions.


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