Weather the Next Economic Storm with Strategic Planning

Those of us in the meat industry usually don’t have the luxury of taking time to contemplate our next move. Prior to joining Midan, I lived in the bullpen of a beef processing facility as well as regularly negotiated sales from my office on four wheels and my other office in the sky. From moving boxes to foodservice and filling containers destined for international ports, my “strategic plan” usually consisted of fulfilling orders one week at a time. The gratification of selling product consumes you and you constantly see-saw between being stressed and being on an adrenaline high to sell that next container NOW. Because at the end of the day, you are only as good as your last sale. For most of us, to hit the pause button and sit in a room to strategically map out the next sales cycle or the next six to 12 months is absurd. Who’s got time for that? Hey, we all know the holidays rule the sales cycle. If you know your core customers’ merchandising set for the quarter and you know your supply numbers and are priced just right, what more do we need to talk about?

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What We Can Learn from the Grassfed Movement: Amplify to Multiply

The Grassfed Movement has got it going on.

Recent Nielsen data tells the story of grassfed beef’s dramatic domestic growth: U.S. retail sales of labeled fresh grassfed beef grew from $17 million in 2012 to $272 million in 2016, doubling every year.

But beyond these impressive numbers, I recently saw firsthand how the commitment and passion of grassfed producers and processors are helping fuel this momentum when I attended the 2018 Grassfed Exchange in Rapid City, South Dakota. At this conference for regenerative producers and sustainable food supporters, more than 500 individuals from 41 states, four Canadian provinces, two Australian territories, New Zealand, England and Denmark gathered to talk about the future of grassfed beef.

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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:

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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Urban Eclectics, Demystified

Jo Ann and Joseph

Jo Ann with her son Joseph, her favorite Urban Eclectic

I have raised an Urban Eclectic. I am not exactly sure how it happened: one day I was doling out Cheerios to an infant in a high chair and the next I was sitting across from a 23-year-old eating kimchi for breakfast.

If you’re not familiar with Midan’s recent Meat Consumer Segmentation research yet, Urban Eclectics are one of six distinct meat consumer groups. Each consumer segment is unique with its own way of thinking about and eating meat. Urban Eclectics tend to be younger, urban, upscale and have families with children. Forty-one percent of them are Millennials (21-34 years old) and slightly more than half are male. You can also define Urban Eclectics by what they care about: novelty, variety, convenience, healthiness and animal welfare.

Based on these characteristics, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my son is likely an Urban Eclectic, although he’s on the younger end of the spectrum and doesn’t have any children. He just finished his first year of law school.

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Everything Old is New Again: Trends from NRA 2017

Maggie with chef Curtis Stone

Sometimes the more you look back, the further ahead you can see. This was certainly the case for the exhibiting meat companies at this year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. They demonstrated that the U.S. meat industry is staying “Ahead of the Crave” by returning to time-honored traditions that bring out the very best in our products. And the local hotspots in Chicago are completely in sync with this movement, with over-the-top meals that make us remember why we love meat.

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Not Your Average Carnivore

Alexandria Tyre is an Account Executive at Midan Marketing

I love cooking for family and friends. Whether it’s during the holidays, watching a college football game, or a simple weekday dinner, I take pride in preparing my guests a delicious meal. My husband actually says that the easiest way to insult me is to say that you were a guest in my home and left HUNGRY. I guess that is my Sicilian heritage surfacing!

To me, a meal is not complete without meat – unless maybe if it is a delicious bowl of risotto, but even then, a little pancetta never hurt. One of our vegetarian friends (yes, I have friends who are vegetarians) planned to join us for dinner and I was panicked. Despite being a fairly adept home cook, how was I going to make a satisfying dinner for everyone invited without meat? Needless to say, meat is the centerpiece of my meals.

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