Talking Shop with… Andrew Urban

Andrew Urban, senior vice president retail sales for Perdue Foods, says no-antibiotics-ever and organic are realizing massive growth in fresh chicken.

What is driving sales in the poultry/chicken category at retail?
Andrew Urban: Poultry is experiencing a huge boom in the demand for better-for-you andy-urban-31411items. We have seen explosive growth in sales of all-veggie fed, no-antibiotics-ever and organic products. Over the past 52 weeks, growth of no-antibiotics-ever and organic fresh chicken, in dollars and pounds, is more than 30%—outpacing conventional products, according to Freshlook data. Consumers are also demanding greater transparency. They want to know where their food comes from, what it was fed and whether it was raised in a humane and sustainable manner.  They are also asking questions about conventional practices, such as the use of antibiotics. They want to know that companies are being responsible and that we share their concerns. At the same time, consumers are hearing confusing discussions around food issues. Amidst all the noise, they want to be able to make simple choices they can feel good about, so they look for the absence of negatives—things such as no animal by-products in the feed.

Some retailers reserve their better-for-you products, especially no-antibiotics-ever and organic, for stores that cater to a more affluent demographic. Many national chains are bringing these items into all their stores, regardless of economic zone, and are seeing phenomenal results. We are seeing the growth trends in fresh poultry start to translate into other areas of the store and into further value-added products. At Perdue Foods, we are designing products and working with retailers to offer better-for-you products at every point along the shopper’s path-to-purchase.

How can retailers maximize sales from the category in terms of merchandising?
From a merchandising perspective, understanding what motivates your shoppers is absolutely essential. Today’s consumers are incredibly busy and many do not have the time or the inclination to cook a fresh meal from scratch, yet they are unwilling to sacrifice quality—or health—for the sake of convenience. That is why we have developed products such as Perdue Perfect Portions Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts and Perdue Oven Ready Roasters. These products take steps out of the cooking process yet still deliver a fresh, home-cooked meal.

What is Perdue introducing to the category?
One of the things that make our products unique is that they are ahead of the curve. Our Perdue Simply Smart line launched just as consumers were asking for more convenient foods made with a minimal number of easy to understand, all-natural ingredients with no preservatives. You will also see on-trend additions to our Heat & Eat and Prepped & Ready products, new items in no-antibiotics-ever frozen fully cooked and refrigerated chicken, and no-antibiotics-ever lunchmeat and sausages.

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