Meat Shopping With Midan – Friends and Family Edition

At Midan, we live, breathe and think about meat – all the time. In an effort to better understand how different Millennials purchase meat, I interviewed my friend, Cathy Lee, for this edition of Meat Shopping with Midan. Cathy is a former urbanite turned Millennial Mom, now living in the suburbs of Chicago. She works part-time as an occupational therapist and spends the rest of her time trying to get dinner on the table while chasing her toddler around.


Caroline and Cathy


Midan Marketing (MM):  Tell me how you typically shop for groceries in a given week.

Cathy Lee (CL):  I usually go to the grocery store three to four times a week, and the place I go depends on what is closest or what I need.


MM:      Wow, seems like you’re at the store pretty frequently.

CL:          I used to be a once-a-week grocery shopper in my single years until I met my husband, who liked going to the grocery store more frequently. When we first started dating, he pointed out how much food I would waste when shopping once a week, mostly because I would end up going out to eat a few times mid-week, and then have to throw out what I didn’t eat. Now I go a few times a week based on what I have planned a day or two out – it’s fresher, and we end up eating everything we buy.


MM:      Do you do all of your grocery shopping in one store? Or do you go to different stores for different items?

CL:          When we lived in the city, Mariano’s was my go-to store for everything. Now that we live in the suburbs, we have three grocery stores within a five-mile radius (Jewel, Heinen’s and a brand new Mariano’s). It really depends on the day, where I am and what I need. But I go to all three.


MM:      So then where do you shop for meat products? And why?

CL:          For meat products, I mostly go to Costco or Jewel. I really prefer to go to Mariano’s for grocery shopping overall, but it’s kind of far away. Jewel has really great sales on meat, so I can buy in bulk and then freeze it for later use. Same with Costco – I love that their meat comes in packages I can put in the freezer as soon as I get home.  Meat from the regular grocery store you have to use right away. Heinen’s has higher quality meats, but is very expensive and has a limited selection!


MM:      What cuts of meat do you typically purchase?

CL:          My husband is better at preparing red meat, so he’ll make a lot of ribs (he has a great Chinese rib recipe!), steaks in the cast iron skillet and pork chops. I’m not good at preparing red meat, so I buy a lot of thinner steaks for stir fry and chicken breasts. I do, however, love eating red meat in restaurants.

I also always have some kind of ground beef in the house. I really like it with pasta sauce. There’s one particular brand of ground beef I buy that is perfect. It’s organic, has the perfect amount in a package, tastes great, and is a good price. I buy them in bulk and put them in the freezer. I used to buy ground beef from the regular grocery store, but now I stick to this kind.


MM:      Sounds great. Do you know which brand it is?

CL:          No idea, but let me check my freezer… It’s Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Beef. They sell them in these perfect little square packages.


CL:          By the way, you know what would be really helpful?  If grocery stores told me which cut of meat is good for what type of dish.  Chicken breast is super easy. But with red meat, what is the difference between a chuck and stew meat? Is one better than the other? Does one have more fat than the other? I have no idea what the difference is or what to do with them, so I just don’t buy it. My husband would know the difference, but he doesn’t do the shopping.


MM:      Can you tell me how your meat shopping has changed over the years (from urban dweller to suburbanista)?

CL:          I can tell you that before our daughter was born, we (ok, mostly he) used to make a lot of fun meals. Like a rack of lamb or boeuf bourguignon. Now that we have a toddler, it’s mostly stir-fry because it’s easy. I can make a whole meal in one pot (less to clean, too), and you can stretch it out to have multiple meals. It’s pretty easy to mix the meat with vegetables and starch for a quick meal.


MM:      Lastly, where do you get your meal ideas from?

CL:          Mostly Pinterest. Or that Better Home and Gardens red and white checkered cookbook everyone gets when they get married. But it’s mostly from the Internet.


  1. Walker Stockley says:

    I am curious about what consumers say about portion sizes relative to use and purchase price. The comment about the individual square units of ground beef allowing to use and freeze portions as needed in very interesting. What other products are important to be able to buy in smaller units but combine for a bulk price discount? What if you could buy small units but then get a discount for buying 6, or better for 8 and even better for 10 units? It’s about value and use, and preventing waste ($$$).

    • Caroline Ahn says:

      Hi Walker, Thank you for your comment! Portion size needs are very much related to life stages. Boomers and younger millennials need smaller packages; a very different need from families with teenage boys! Your idea of bulk pricing is certainly intriguing! I know many people would appreciate the ability to buy one of a specific item or get a discount if they buy more! I think there are several everyday meat products that might benefit from individual portioning combined with bulk price discounts – products like ground beef, pork chops, chicken breasts and small steaks come to mind. Being able to stock these items in small portions in the freezer meets current consumer demand for value and convenience, while keeping meat in their daily diets.

  2. Kerry Allen says:

    It’s interesting that a customer that claims to purchase the majority of their meat from Jewel Osco (Albertsons) has questions regarding which cut of meat is optimal. Since all Jewel stores staff onsite butchers and offer custom cuts, you would assume that they would excel in this environment. Perhaps they would benefit by providing additional training to their butchers in the area of customer interaction.

    • Hi Kerry, thanks for the great comment! I personally am also a Jewel-Osco shopper as well, and think it’s great that they’ve hired onsite butchers for their meat department. We know that consumers don’t really think about engaging with meat department staff while shopping, so Jewel-Osco will have to over communicate this service with consumers for it to be successful. The more we engage with shoppers, the more likely they are to purchase our products and build long-term loyalty.

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