It’s always interesting to me how consumer trends across the board shape what happens in the meat case. As you plan for FY 2015, here are three trends that you should consider:
- Capitalize on the Protein Craze
A walk down any center grocery aisle will tell you that protein is one of the hottest buzzwords right now. It’s as if the rest of the world just figured out what we’ve known all along: protein is a big deal. Everything from cereal to pasta now boasts added protein, and consumers are gobbling it up. This trend means good things for the meat industry — we have a lock on protein! Not only is meat an excellent source of naturally-occurring protein, it tastes great. Would you rather get 23 grams of protein from a nice juicy Strip Steak, or 11 grams from a bowl of Cheerios™ Protein?
The message consumers need to hear is this: look no further than the meat case for protein-rich, nutritious food.
Other nutrition topics we need to pay attention to include recent challenges to established USDA guidelines on fat intake. Headlines are swirling that saturated fat, long considered to be a diet no-no, might not be so bad after all. Consumers who have been restricting their fat consumption might now consider coming back to the meat case. You need to be ready for them, and loudly proclaim the incredible value of protein-rich, flavorful meat.
- Give Permission to Spend More
There’s no way around it: beef prices are continuing to rise, and the price gap between beef and other proteins is widening. Current beef prices, already about 30% higher than 2013 levels, are expected to climb another 12% in 2015, while pork and poultry are expected to drop about 15% and 8%, respectively.*
For beef retailers, it’s no time to shrink. (Pun intended!) Instead of apologizing for the sticker shock, give your customers permission to splurge on what some have been cutting back on: beef. According to Len Steiner, demand is one of the drivers of higher-than-expected prices.* For beef lovers, nothing satisfies like a tender, juicy steak, and sometimes all they need is a little nudge to get over that price hurdle.
Pork and poultry retailers, you should soon be sitting pretty. With those anticipated lower prices, you will be perfectly poised to develop messaging around being the most affordable protein choice.
- Thin is In
Bigger beef carcasses are leading to even-higher-priced steaks. Savvy retailers already know that cutting primals into thinner cuts generates packages with more-appealing unit prices for customers. But have you thought about the across-the-board implications of thinner cuts? Merchandising should include simple meal suggestions and shorter recommended cooking times to ensure a positive eating experience. Prominently feature recipes on your website that showcase thinner cuts and revised timings.
Another reason to pay special attention to thinner cuts is a shift in demand for portion sizes. Large segments of the population, particularly Millenials and Boomers, are now looking for smaller package sizes and smaller cuts. More than ever, you need to be aware of customers’ needs and evaluate your product mix and merchandising programs to meet those needs.
What do you think? What’s on your mind as you’re planning for FY 2015? Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.