Pound for pound, in-store butchers have the ability to offer value to health-conscious consumers.
By Brian Diffenderfer
Like the extinction of so many other personalized customer service options, meat cutters are slowly disappearing from our local retail stores. As we move into 2014, more items are becoming available that are pre-cut and sealed in case-ready packaging, allowing retailers to simply open a box and place product on the shelf.
This new packaging technology offers excellent benefits in terms of preserving freshness and extending shelf life, thereby allowing retailers to offer a larger variety of product 24/7 without worrying about discarding unused product at the end of each week. However, the down side is that many consumers no longer have access to a knowledgeable meat expert who can share important product details like cooking tips, serving suggestions or other helpful information to guide purchase decisions.
If many of the 2013 trends stay true this year and beyond, increasingly health-conscious consumers will continue to demand organic, humanely-raised and better-for-you products in the meat department. These consumers are going to have questions about the products they are choosing, so the time is now to ramp up education for new and existing employees so they are prepared to deliver valuable product information and support meat category success.
Inconsistency in value-added products made at store level has always been a real problem for retailers. These issues usually occur when the department is not adequately staffed or when new employees are hired but not properly trained.
To help our industry partners better prepare for success in the coming year, Daymon Worldwide tracks and interprets global retail and key category trends on a daily basis to help them quickly respond to evolving consumer behavior. Each trend was identified through the lens of Daymon’s Global Trendwheel, a proprietary tool that tracks 72 consumer Microtrends across eight Megatrends that impact global retail success. For the meat department, key 2014 trends include:
Organic and All-natural Products
The trend toward organic and all-natural meat will continue in 2014 as consumers are looking for healthier meal solutions. Health-conscious shoppers are also interested in fresh products without antibiotics or growth hormones.
As consumers become increasingly interested in new and interesting sensory experiences, meat, fish and poultry manufacturers are responding with unique recipes and flavors that are easy to prepare or ready-to-serve, but still offer a more global culinary adventure.
Fresh and Natural
Taste matters as consumers look more favorably on fresh, pure and natural attributes. Active and intelligent packaging techniques are being used to preserve freshness and shelf life in fresh chilled meat, poultry and fish products, which fits in with the fresh and natural trend.
With lifestyles busier than ever and a rise of single-person households, single-serve products that offer convenience are gaining popularity. That includes ready-to-serve prepared products and products available in tear-away portion control packages.
Retailers interested in responding to consumer trends will be wise to invest in marketing and communication vehicles that will explain the positive attributes of product offerings to core consumers.
Whether it is a pamphlet, sign, radio or TV ad, weekly circular or all of these vehicles, educating consumers is what will make these programs and products successful.
Even though issues exist, we are still seeing positive sales growth year-over-year in the value-added segments in the meat department. When retailers offer excellent customer service consistently from day to day, and from store to store, consumers will notice and come back for more. This is a great way for a retailer to set themselves apart from their competition and grow customer loyalty in the meat department.
Brian Diffenderfer is global business development director, meat & seafood, for Daymon Worldwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.