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 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!


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.


Develop a High Performing Online Ad

As the Advertising Coordinator at Midan, I develop advertising schedules for our clients each year. Through my years of experience, I’ve put together some useful tips for online advertising.  First you must ask one of the most important questions in advertising:  “who is the target?” In order to effectively market, you must know your audience.  The following tips will help you develop a successful online advertising campaign.

Know your target
An advertising campaign will not be successful without knowing your target. Become familiar with your target – know their age, ethnicity, geographic location, habits, behaviors, likes, dislikes, etc.  Ask questions like:

  1. What online publications does the target read?
  2. How frequently do they read them?
  3. Do they participate in social media?
  4. What “language” do they speak?

Do your research
Reach out to potential publications and ask questions to better understand who they are reaching. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What is the best performing ad space?
  2. What day has the highest performing ads?
  3. What is their online editorial calendar?

Develop compelling creative
Develop compelling creative that speaks to your audience.  Ads should always include a call-to-action; a strong one gets clicks, which is important if you want your target to learn more about the product or service you are offering.

The imagery is the first thing people notice. Use strong visuals that relate to your product. Bold, bright, clear images will have a positive impact on your click-through-rate (CTR).

Make sure your ads are linking to appropriate landing pages. If your ad is talking about “Product A” and you’re linking them to “Product B,” there will be a disconnect.

Test your creative
Developing ad variations is a good way to test different messages or images that speak to your audience. It’s important to refine your ads when something isn’t working, in order to achieve the best results.
Here are some variations you can try:

  1. Test various call-to-actions (i.e. Click Here, Try Now)
  2. Test words that speak to your audience (i.e. Free, New, Exclusive)
  3. Test people and product images

Measure your results
Request an online advertising report from the publications after each campaign. Compare this report to the traffic on your landing page. These reports will reveal the value of your campaign. It’s also helpful to know the publications’ average CTR of the space you advertised in so you can compare your ads performance to the average.

Track what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Rotating creative is essential to keeping your audience engaged and making your campaign more effective. I hope these tips will help you develop a successful online advertising campaign.


Kristy Finley, Advertising Coordinator
Also known as the “Photo Shoot Coordinator Extraordinaire”, Kristy is responsible for ad placements in trade publications and online.  She helps to make sure every detail is perfect in our mouth-watering, professional meat photography.

Bringing spice to the meat department

boring… alone in a cave… intimidating… like a trip to the dentist…

What is your first reaction when you read these words? It certainly doesn’t seem like a place I am interested in visiting.  Unfortunately, for everyone involved in the supermarket meat department, these words and phrases put a giant magnifying glass on a problem we are all facing.  These words are metaphors provided by consumers during a focus group when asked how to describe how they feel when shopping the meat department at their local supermarket.

Getting a gut ache right now? If you are not, it may mean you’ve already taken too much antacid today.  This is a industry –wide problem!  Don’t shrug this one off and go on to the other 100 things you need to think about today.  Take just a minute to stop and contemplate what this means and the ramifications.

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