Tomorrow’s Meat Consumer: Are You Ready?

I recently had the honor of presenting at the 2018 World Meat Congress (WMC) in Dallas on June 1. Hosted by The International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, WMC brought together more than 700 meat industry leaders from 40 countries to discuss the wide-ranging, complex issues impacting meat production across the globe.

My charge was to pinpoint the ways that today’s meat consumers, more demanding and discerning than ever, are driving the trends that are disrupting the industry. Here are the action steps I shared that can help us get ready for (and stay one step ahead of!) tomorrow’s meat eaters:

  1. Drill Down: It’s more critical than ever that we get to the bottom of what makes today’s meat consumers tick. Segmenting and targeting are essential to determine your customers’ values and purchase drivers in order to meet their diverse needs.
    • Due to increasingly different approaches to meat consumption, customization will play an expanding role in product development, sales and marketing. According to the 2018 Power of Meat Study, the “one size fits all” approach must transition to “one size fits one.”
  2. Think Globally: World demographic shifts in population growth, aging, urbanization and the rising middle class will dramatically alter the face of the globe in the coming decades. The balance of international power will also swing:
    • By 2030, Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of gross domestic product, population size and technological investment.
  3. Stand Your Ground: Meat will continue to face threats from alternate protein sources, including the growing number of plant-based and lab-grown products; however, protein is still one of meat’s greatest selling points, and the industry must loudly proclaim the nutritional benefits of meat in order to reclaim ground lost to other protein sources.
    • Today’s meat eaters have an evolving relationship with meat. More than 60% of fresh meat eaters report eating non-meat protein as the “center of the plate” item once to several times per week, according to a 2014 Midan Custom NPD Survey.
  4. Collaborate to Educate: When the meat industry works together, everyone benefits. Universal, “big picture” issues, like sustainability or nutrition, are better tackled by establishing industry-wide standards and/or messages that offer clear guidance to consumers.
    • Recent research by Midan Marketing revealed that only 47% of fresh beef consumers could provide any definition for sustainably raised beef. This is an opportunity to work together so that sustainability doesn’t go the way of the “natural” claim, where multiple industry definitions confused consumers so much that they no longer perceive the value of “natural” products.
  5. Embrace Change: While disruptions to the meat industry can initially wreak havoc, they also offer opportunities for significant advancement.
    • New technology like blockchain and robotics have the capability to revolutionize production, while consumer-driven shifts like the e-commerce boom and rise of alternate proteins are compelling the meat industry to rethink how to more effectively market and merchandise meat products.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how meat consumers are evolving—please leave a comment!

Top Six Meat Industry Trends

The Midan Team at the 2018 NAMI
Meat Industry Summit

There’s a saying in the Midan office: “What got us here, won’t get us there.” It’s a reminder that we need to keep our game sharp to compete in the ever-evolving meat industry. It was in that same vein that my partner Danette Amstein and I presented the top meat industry trends at the 2018 North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Meat Industry Summit in San Antonio in April. When the finish line is always moving, keeping your eye on these macro trends is one way to set yourself up for success in 2020 and beyond:

[Read more…]

Are You “Brand Safe”?


As a meat processor, you stake your reputation on the quality and safety of your products. You wouldn’t dream of letting meat leave your plant without following every safety precaution to the letter of the law. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t as careful about maintaining the safety of their brand. Although intangible, your brand reputation requires the same kind of stringent safeguards that protect your meat products.

[Read more…]

AMC 2018 Top 10

At Annual Meat Conference (AMC) 2018, digital dominated. How today’s meat consumers are using digital to plan, purchase and prepare meals was the unifying theme that coursed through nearly every session. As always, the Midan team was on the scene to sift through all the learnings and compile our annual list of top takeaways. See below for our most meaningful nuggets, with the influence of digital leading the pack.

[Read more…]

At Midan, What We Do Is Who We Are

danette-amstein's-feedlot

Danette often returns to her roots on her family’s cattle farm in Kansas.

Happy New Year! It’s only the second week of 2018, but some of us (no names mentioned!) might already be wavering on those ambitious resolutions we made to do more of “this” and less of “that” in the coming year.

While the new year offers a chance to start fresh, it’s also an opportunity to re-commit to the causes we hold dear. For those of us in the meat business, this is a pivotal time to rededicate ourselves to an industry we love that is facing intense upheaval. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that 2018 is poised to disrupt the status quo: meat itself is no longer “meat” (“fake meat” is not “fake news”!) and the Amazon fall-out is far from over. (Read my headlines blog to get my take on the trends to watch.)

[Read more…]

Top Meat Industry Headlines of 2017

Oh 2017—what a news-filled, exciting year you have been!

Here at Midan we work hard to stay on top of news and trends in the meat industry. As this year wraps up, I wanted to reflect with you on some of 2017’s prominent trends that we believe will impact 2018.

  1. The Evolution of Retail: It has been a big year for retailers — no one can deny that. This year, retailers have moved at a fast-pace to keep up with consumer trends and the demand for convenience. Retail consolidation is a trend that started some time ago and continues to gain momentum. Major retailers like Kroger have purchased smaller specialty grocers—and we can’t forget the $13.7 billion check Amazon wrote to add Whole Foods to its portfolio. These changes in strategic posturing require retailers to pause and give thought to how they will continue to differentiate themselves. Many are focusing on the areas of consumer convenience: online ordering, curbside delivery and in-home delivery, as well as creating their own meal solutions.

    Outlook for 2018: Expect more posturing, more niche playing and more convenience for consumers.

    [Read more…]

Midan’s Reaction to Chain Reaction: Quick Facts on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Mainstream media outlets swallowed up the subjective content of the recently published Chain Reaction III study, evoking fear and panic among consumers. The report wants consumers and investors to pressure the top 25 fast food and fast casual restaurants to move to meat offerings from livestock raised without the use of antibiotics. It cites consumption of meat from animals that may have been given antibiotics as a leading cause of antibiotic resistance. The report also calls for more government action and pressure from investors to remove such animals from their supply specifications.

At Midan Marketing, we strive to examine the news with both the meat industry and consumer in mind—here’s how you can be a cattle-lyst for the conversation.

[Read more…]

5 Ways to Dig into Digital Marketing

Remember the days (and sounds) of dial-up internet – kerrhh beep beep wurrh

What started as a way to simply store and share information, the internet’s explosive growth has paved the way for Digital Marketing, a full discipline and true necessity for companies. It’s big, it’s hairy and comes with widgets and plugins and data – oh my! But whether your goal is to build your brand or increase sales, marketing on the internet is critical to growing your business in today’s world.

So what does all of this mean for the meat industry – an industry rooted in cattle-calling and horseback, not Snapchat and Uber.

[Read more…]

Just Another Day at the Office…

Kevin communing with Red Angus
cattle at Kniebel Farm.

If you know anything about Midan, you know it’s not just an empty slogan when we say that we live, breathe and dream about meat.

Our recent annual Team Meeting bears this out in spades. While some companies jet off to Vegas or escape to Disney World to get away from the office, Midan takes a completely different approach: we head to America’s heartland. When the team first heard we were going to Manhattan for this year’s retreat, we were kind of stunned. Then we realized it was Manhattan, Kansas. Ah, that’s more like it.

While the annual meeting is a prime chance to bond with teammates, it’s also an important time to reconnect with the land and livestock. For us, continuing education happens out in the field — literally. As an eight-year veteran of Midan, I’ve toured more than a few cattle and hog farms and have learned that it’s not only what you see on the farm, but whom you meet there that reminds us of why we do what we do.

[Read more…]

How to Spot an Aging Idealist

Diana (r) with her sister Patty, the Aging Idealist

This blog is the final in our series detailing each of six distinct meat consumer segments from our recent Meat Consumer Segmentation research.

My sister and I have always been very different. She likes the heat, I like the cold. She likes spicy foods, I like sweet foods. So after learning that I am a Wavering Budgeteer, I was curious to see what category she fell into.

Turns out my sister is an Aging Idealist. They make up 13% of the meat-eating consumer population. While Patty enjoys a good deal as well as the next person, it’s not the only criterion for purchases and can get tossed right out the window if she really wants it. (I will forfeit a much wanted item for cost – her, never!) If she knows the meat is a product of the United States and the brand cares about sustainability, she will purchase it regardless of price.

[Read more…]

photo-credit