4 Ways to Get High-Priced Meat in the Cart

A recent headline stated, “At a time when prices are usually low, meat prices are rising faster than any other food group.” Not what you want to hear before grilling season, right?

I cringe at the thought of what those high prices will mean for my clients. But as a consumer, I just shift things around to keep meat on the dinner table.

Based on qualitative research I have conducted over the past few years, it seems that while consumers are cognizant of rising prices, they adjust to accommodate the higher prices because they love meat and can’t walk away completely. Just a few years ago the average price per pound for a boneless sirloin steak was $5.83 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Consumer Price Index). According to Oklahoma State University’s April Food Demand Survey, people say they are willing to pay up to $6.87 per pound for steaks, a 4.25% increase since March.

The 2014 Power of Meat study showed that while price is the number one consideration in the meat and poultry purchasing decision process, other factors are tiptoeing closer.  The importance of nutritional content, preparation knowledge and preparation time has increased.

For many consumers, saving time and effort is just as important as price.  I am one of those shoppers who is willing to pay more for easy meal solutions.  Here are four ideas that add the kind of value that helps consumers like me keep beef and pork in my shopping cart. (Kudos to Chicago-area grocery stores for starting to offer a lot of these, which has led to a drastic decline in my drive-thru runs!)

1. Remind me of all the delicious prepared foods that are now available at grocery stores. I feel better when dinner comes from the grocery store instead of a take-out or drive-thru bag. Unfortunately, grocery stores are not top of mind for last-minute dinner options. Only 13% of shoppers say they “very often” visit the grocery store to purchase ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat items rather than buying from a fast-food place or restaurant. (Power of Meat, 2014)

2. Have it somewhat ready for me. Don’t make me think after a long day at work! I am so happy to see more meat departments doing more with marinades and fresh grinds and offering innovative value-added products like shish kebabs. These types of products are particularly appealing to young adults and men. Nearly a fifth of men (19%) that buy beef tend to buy products that have been partially prepared, such as hamburger patties or kabobs, while 18-24 year olds are twice as likely (32%) as the average consumer to buy beef and pork products that have been partially prepared. (Mintel 2013 Red Meat Report)

3. Give me another option beyond rotisserie chickens. I know they are easy to prepare in store and they hold really well, but what about a pork loin roast or a beef pot roast? Take advantage of ovenable packaging to offer fresh options that make dinner more exciting.

4. Can I place an order for pick up? How great would it be if I call you at 2:00 pm to order a nice fully-cooked beef or pork roast and pick it up at 6:00 pm while I’m grabbing milk and eggs? Jump on the “grocerant trend” and be more restaurant-like. This kind of service would really help me get the kind of healthy meal on the table I feel good about serving my family.

What are your ideas for adding value to meat department purchases?

As Midan’s Account Planner as well as the mother of two small children, Julie Murphy has a unique perspective on shopping at the meat case.