Archives for March 2015

Keeping Farmers’ Market Customers Shopping the Meat Case: 5 Tips for Retailers and Packer/Processors

Last month I had the privilege of sharing consumer research that Midan conducted to supplement the Power of Meat presentation during the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville. Our assignment was to shed light on the consumers who are spending more and more of their meat dollars at farmers’ markets.

While these dollars are still a relatively small part of total food expenditures, the growth of farmers’ markets is something we should all sit up and take notice of.  Whenever shoppers are spending their meat dollars outside the grocery store, retailers, packer/processors and branded meat companies lose out.

The farmers’ market shopper demographics are fairly Americana, with one key difference: these consumers have a very strong desire to know where their food comes from.

So how can we make this “farmers’ market mentality” work for retailers and packer/processors?

If these shoppers are more curious about where their meat comes from and what is (and is not) in it, then we need to communicate more clearly and regularly that the meat supplied by packer/processors and sold in the grocery store is every bit as fresh and high quality as the local farm stand. This research points to the importance of sharing the “back story” of fresh meat, so that consumers can buy meat with confidence.

So, what can you do to keep farmers’ market shoppers at the retail meat case?

  1. Tell your story

If you are selling a branded program, you have some kind of story to tell shoppers. It may not include specific farmers from a certain region. Rather, it may be more focused on why your specifications provide consumers with the eating experience they are looking for. And your story doesn’t have to be long – short and concise is all that shoppers have time for at the meat case. Sharing your story tells these shoppers that you care and are working to deliver what they want.

  1. Share the facts

Simple signs like this can go a long way in building a relationship with shoppers.

  1. Explain “fresh”

Freshness is the #1 reason consumers shop at farmers’ markets. But the meat sold in supermarkets is just as fresh. I find it a bit perplexing that we don’t really promote “fresh” at the meat case. Even vacuum-packaged and case ready products are “fresh.” It may be time to explain the major industry efforts taken to keep the meat supply fresh.

  1. Rethink those clean store policies.

I get why retailers want to minimize clutter to maximize the meat customers see. While a clear view of the sea of beef, pork and chicken is important, the pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction. More and more shoppers want some background about the meat being displayed in the case, and sharing information at point-of-sale is becoming more critical in capturing these consumers.

  1. It isn’t only about “local”

The desire for fresh, along with assurance that the animals the meat came from were well-cared-for, is huge for farmers’ market meat purchasers. These shoppers gravitate to the farmers’ market because they want to “feel good” about their purchases. But this desire to “feel good” can also be addressed in a large supermarket with meat from national packer/processors. While the buy local” movement is big in this country, shoppers know that growing cattle, pigs and chickens can’t always happen locally.

We in the industry know that the majority of animals are well-cared-for by the farmers/ranchers raising them. But consumers generally don’t see those messages of happy animals; rather, they see the vivid videos provided by activist organizations that want to defile animal agriculture.

Packer/processors, here is a great opportunity to work with your retail customers to share the positive story of all that is done to ensure a great-tasting, safe food supply from well-cared-for animals. It will help you and your customer instill confidence in those shoppers who care and expect you to care as well.

Want to learn more about farmers’ market shoppers? Check out this infographic.

Memories From The Farm

 

At Midan, we’re not just marketers, we’re farmers.  So in celebration of National Agriculture Day on March 18, we’ve asked Karen, our Senior Account Executive and a Missouri farm girl, to share her story.

I grew up on a family farm. We had hogs and cattle, raised some row crops and had pastureland. Much of my time was spent riding my Shetland pony, Misty, through all the hills and hollows of the 1,000-acre farm we rented. My dad used to say that I knew the farm better than anyone else, because I explored every corner. The Auxvasse Creek ran through our land and there were never-ending wonders to see.

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My first gainful employment was at age six, when my dad suggested that I water and feed a set of gilts (female pigs that haven’t given birth yet) every day for a couple of months in exchange for $50. I say “gainful” because I’d been working on the farm ever since I could remember. Dad loves to tell people about putting my older brother, sister and me all in different pens with sows having babies, so that we could wipe the piglets off as they were born. I was about four years old. (Mom wasn’t nearly as thrilled about that as Dad, since the sows weighed anywhere from 250 to 400 pounds and could be cantankerous, to put it mildly). With that $50, Mom and I went to town and opened a checking account for me. Pretty cool to have a checking account well before you’re 10 years old; less cool to have it only so you can buy feed at the local feed store for your calves.

I was raised with a strict sense of responsibility. Taking care of my chores was first, above anything else, because I was responsible for animals and they depended on me. Watering, feeding and checking hogs and calf pens were daily chores, while checking grazing cattle, riding the fences to make sure they were in good shape and cutting thistles out of the pastures were weekend duties.

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My family eventually bought a 400-acre row crop farm and we moved there when I was 9 years old. We moved in our family grain truck (my mother’s piano did survive, despite her doubts!). We raised hogs and grew row crops like corn and soybeans. I raised 4-H calves too, to build my college fund. As I grew up, I graduated into chores like driving the tractor and disk, combining wheat and baling straw and hay. Fast-forward several years and you’d see that I graduated from college with an animal science degree and then started my lifelong career in the agriculture industry.

I passionately believe I had the best foundation possible because I grew up on a farm. My brother is a full-time farmer, and his son and daughter now help him on the farm. My roots make me who I am. My belief that U.S. farmers are the best people on the face of the earth is unshakeable.

Why do I work at Midan Marketing? Because we know what every facet of the U.S. agriculture industry brings to the world and we understand the personal ethics and hard work that make that gift possible.

So, on Ag Day and every day, I offer a very heartfelt “thank you” to farmers everywhere.

 

AMC Top 10 Blog

At Midan, we’re always looking for the “golden nugget.” In Midan-speak, that’s the “ah hah” moment, the light bulb realization, the kernel of truth that resonates when we learn something new. There was no shortage of golden nugget learnings at AMC this year, and we are excited to share some of our team’s top takeaways:AMC team photo

1. Meat is losing steam with youngsters

– 60% of Millennials believe they can get their daily allowance of protein without eating meat (Anne-Marie Roerink, Power of Meat Presentation)

2. Sodium is on consumers’ radar

– Sodium has taken over 1st place from total fat as the most scanned nutritional value on labels (Anne-Marie Roerink, Power of Meat Presentation)

3. The more space retailers dedicate to value-added meat, the more successful they will be

– Higher-performing retailers allocate 30% (vs. 10%) of the meat case to value- added meat, to achieve 2.2 times the sale velocity (Steven Ramsey and Chris DuBois, IRI)

4. Provide a mid-week meal solution

– Wednesday and Thursday are the most unplanned meal days (Steven Ramsey and Chris DuBois, IRI)

5. Consumers love grocerants

– Consumers rank four supermarkets (Wegmans, Whole Foods, Publix and Trader Joe’s) among the top overall foodservice experiences (Wade Hanson, Technomic, Inc.)

6. US meat production IS sustainable

– The US meat production system is the most practical and efficient system in the world (Maureen Ogle, author of In Meat We Trust)

7. Americans LOVE to talk about food

– 25% of all social conversations are about food and drink, so consider how you can engage consumers to make your brand part of the chatter (Bradley Nix, Brand Chorus)

8. Meat is unfairly under attack

– The health benefits of eating more meat are being dismissed (Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise)

9. U.S. export markets are critical for the meat industry

– Asian markets are especially important for US premium meat exports (Randy Blach, CattleFax & Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc.)

10. Red meat might be out, but alcohol is in?

– Proposed 2015 Nutrition Guidelines recommend limiting meat consumption from a health and sustainability standpoint, but indicate that moderate alcohol intake can be part of a healthy diet. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that none of the committee members are food or environmental scientists (Susan Backus, Vice President, North American Meat Institute Foundation)

Let us know your thoughts! Any key learnings you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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