Archives for November 2014

Meat Shopping With Midan

This is the first post in our new “Meat Shopping with Midan” series. In each entry, a Midan team member will share insights into how they shop for groceries and meat, based on their lifestyle and personal interests. We hope you find it valuable.

 

My name is Caroline, and I am a suburbanite.

Caroline Ahn

I never thought I would be typing those words, but that’s what I am, having recently relocated to the suburbs of Northern Virginia after spending 15 years in major metropolitan cities.

With this major location switch have come changes in the way I shop for, cook and eat food.  My whole experience with food has actually turned completely upside down from my previous lifestyle – but definitely for the better!

In my journey from urban dweller to suburbanista, I’ve noticed four major differences in the way I shop (and ways retailers can make it a better experience):

  1. Retailers, I need meal ideas. Because I am cooking A LOT more.

Before I moved to Virginia, I cooked once a week – at most. I ate most of my dinners at trendy restaurants, and on other nights, clicking a link on seamless.com for delivery was just too easy. Now that these options are not quite as available, I find myself at a grocery store a few times a week, perusing fresh vegetables and proteins. Retailers, if you want to make it easier, give me some meal ideas and cross merchandise proteins with complementary items, so I can get through the store quickly and efficiently. Please suggest the freshest seasonal items.

  1. Whoever thought of single servings of meat – thank you!

As a single girl who doesn’t need a huge amount of food, I am very thankful for individual servings of fresh meat. I used to think – what am I going to do with five steaks? Or a pack of nine chicken breasts? Of course, I could go to the full-service case and flirt with my local butcher hottie (Why are butchers so sexy, BTW? Maybe a future blog post…), but who has time for that on a regular basis? Single servings of fresh meat are the answer. My only suggestion? Perhaps better packaging. Vacuum-sealed single servings are usually piled together like a pool of meat packages; I wish retailers could find a better way to organize and merchandise them to make them more appealing.

  1. I’m not very price sensitive. I just want to get in and out of the store.  

I know fresh meat prices are increasing; however, unless the price is more than $10-12 for a steak, I won’t even think twice. Considering I used to dine out 4-5 times per week, I’ve already reduced my food spending significantly by cooking at home. While I might choose one protein over another based on price, I probably won’t sift through multiple packages to save $1-2.

  1. Health and nutrition are hugely important.

The single greatest benefit of cooking and eating at home is better health. Having nutrition labels on-package helps me quickly identify which cuts are leanest, lowest in calories and most protein-packed. The holidays are around the corner, and many will be starting Paleo, Atkins or low-carb diets soon after. I’ve been reading articles on how consumers are turning to non-meat products for their protein needs. Working in the meat marketing business, I know that fresh meat is the best source of lean protein (with vitamins too!).  Retailers and packer/processors should put greater emphasis on owning the protein category – we shouldn’t have to compete with Greek yogurt or protein powders!

Looking back on the past year, I’ve expanded my horizons in both the grocery store and the kitchen! I’ve developed loyalties to different stores based on their offerings in the meat and produce departments. Not all meat departments are created equal, but the ones that do the best job of meeting my needs are the ones I go back to!

 

Fellow meat industry professionals, I’d love to hear about your grocery shopping adventures!

 

On the Inside Looking In.

Think about your first day on the job. Chances are it went something like this:

Fill out paperwork, read a training manual, meet with HR, have IT set up your computer, meet a bunch of people and immediately forget their names….maybe a group lunch? With a few exceptions, this is a pretty by-the-book rundown of the onboarding process.

Midan is one of those exceptions.

Now, we’ve covered the culture of Midan from the perspective of a new hire before. There’s one important part that bears repeating: as part of the hiring process, you meet with everyone. Ev-ry-one. Be it by phone, Skype, in-person or on-site, you are gonna have a chat with the whole staff. Simply put, this is a master class in interviewing.

This could also be considered utter madness if it didn’t work so well. And it really does—by the time you come on board, you’ve interviewed them as much as they have you. At some point in the process, the shiny new “interview personality” breaks down and you’re just you, having a chat with another person. I didn’t know it at the time, but this instills a certain confidence that I’ve never experienced coming into a company. How cool is that?

Back to that first day. Mine consisted of walking out the door at 5 AM to head to the airport and hop a flight from Chicago to Nashville. Let that soak in for a minute. Yeah, my first day on the job happened to coincide with the annual Midan team meeting, held at the amazing Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Having the more mechanical introductions out of the way, I resigned myself to sit back and take it all in over the next few days.

Throughout meetings, what struck me was the two-way street that developed. I saw transparency that allowed people to talk about what was stressing them out, what needed to change and what their hopes for Midan Marketing were.

What I saw was a great team working towards something greater. That’s not just motivational poster tripe, either. As with any gathering of people, there are bound to be road bumps, miscommunication, and a real need to be heard. So to watch all this come at you in real time, to see dynamics shift and watch people leave with a resolve to do better…well, I stand by that statement.

The main takeaway here is twofold: 1) Pay attention to the place that goes beyond the normal interview/team building stuff. There’s likely something exciting and different happening. 2) Problems in a team are normal; it’s how they get addressed that make a place extraordinary.

So that was Day 1. Oh, and then we went line dancing.

 

To learn more about the Midan Team Meeting, view our photos here: https://www.facebook.com/MidanMarketing

 

photo-credit