Meat Shopping Mom on a Mission

Meat Shopping with Midan Blog

This is the second post in our new “Meat Shopping with Midan” series. In each entry, a Midan team member shares insights into how they shop for groceries and meat, based on their lifestyle and personal interests.

For those of us who work with Meredith, a Midan Account Executive, hearing she is an organized, plan-ahead shopper is no surprise. Meredith’s inbox is the envy of the office; all of her emails are neatly categorized and filed. As we learn below, she approaches the grocery store in a similarly-sensible way.

My name is Meredith, and I am a working mom.

Like so many moms, I have many jobs. Because I work outside the home, I regularly juggle office responsibilities with household chores. Right along with laundry, dishes and vacuuming, grocery shopping is one of the many tasks that fills my time each week. No matter how much I plan, I usually start another grocery list within hours of my most recent trip.

In order to make this never-ending task more effective (and bearable!), I’ve devised a few strategies that help me make the most of my limited time. As a mom with a toddler and a new baby coming soon, grocery shopping for me is all about convenience, budgeting and planning.

i. I try to be a smart shopper when it comes to “when” and “where.”

Living in a small town in North Carolina, there aren’t too many shopping options close by. My top stops are my area supercenter and local grocery store, with the occasional pop-in at the nearby discount grocer, because it is literally within walking distance from my house (and the milk is super cheap). I choose a time that isn’t too busy, if possible, and try to get in and out quickly, especially when my energetic toddler is with me. I often write my grocery list in order of the store shopping pattern to help with efficiency.

ii. I keep my grocery list flexible for sale items.

Another key factor in my grocery shopping is budget. My family is pretty easy to please when it comes to food choices, so I tend to plan meals around what’s on sale that week or just stock up when things I know we use are on sale.

iii. I stock up.

I buy meat in bulk or on sale and freeze it so I have it on hand. The main meats I purchase are ground beef, beef roast, pork chops and chicken breasts. Pork tenderloin, beef cube steak and strip steaks are more occasional purchases for me. My local grocery store recently added a section of custom meals in the fresh meat case that require only 30 minutes of cooking time. For me, that’s dinner on the table in half an hour tops! We have tried their burgers with bacon and cheese, kabobs and parmesan chicken and they have all been very good. I am willing to pay a little bit more for the convenience of having the meat meal-ready.

When canned goods or snack items are on sale, I stock up. I also participate in the supercenter’s savings program and like knowing they are comparing prices to other stores, so I save money with no extra effort!

We eat most of our meals at home, and I cook a lot, so a well-stocked pantry keeps me from constantly running to the store. When I have time, I try to look ahead to our week. I don’t necessarily plan meals for each day, but I try to have all ingredients on hand for when the next meal is needed.

iv. I don’t fight it – I admit Mom has had a major impact on my shopping habits.

I’ve noticed I do a lot of what my mom does when it comes to cooking and shopping, just because I’ve watched her do it for so many years. (And, let’s face it: I realize I am becoming my mother!). I buy certain brands and sale items because my mom does.

v. I do leftovers!!

There is nothing better than coming home from work and heating something up vs. starting from scratch. Lasagna, casseroles, roasts, soups, anything in the crockpot – I like making something we can have for at least two meals. And, when my plan fails, I always keep a frozen pizza ready.

Even a super-organized person needs a back-up plan.

 

Read the meat shopping blog from our PR Manager Caroline Ahn – she’s a suburbanite! http://blog.midanmarketing.com/2014/11/14/meat-shopping-with-midan/

 

 

 

 

 

Teamwork Makes the DREAM Work…

Corporate culture is a nebulous concept that can make or break a working atmosphere.

At Midan Marketing, principals Danette and Michael provide the framework for our culture by clearly sharing their business values and priorities. They work hard to build a cohesive team whose members positively encourage and challenge each other.

But company leaders can only provide a loose structure for a successful culture; it’s up to the team to build on that foundation.

To flesh out the cultural skeleton, it is up to us to buy in to the company values and mission and adopt them as their own.

At Midan, our culture is driven by passion – for meat, for team, for families, for growth. Of course, our passion for meat is forefront, but our passion for team generates open communication and trust in each other to excel in our areas of expertise. We work hard, but we have fun together and encourage each other to produce exceptional results.

We are also passionate about our families, and are fortunate that the Midan culture supports a healthy work/life balance. Midan principals recognize that family and personal life cannot always be contained in the hours before and after work, and they have encouraged a culture of flexibility to find ways to help with those needs.

At Midan, team members are encouraged to have interests outside of work. These interests help our staff bring unique perspectives and new ideas to the table that benefit team members and clients.

And while Midan has a single over-arching culture, there are many subcultures in play. These subcultures come from having two key offices in geographically-diverse areas and a few remote offices. Other subcultures are departmental. Each individual team — Creative Communications, Market Research, Account Management, and Administration — works and interacts differently. This doesn’t even touch on the myriad of cultural goodies we all bring from our personal lives! While we all share similar values and a passion for our work, we work to achieve Midan’s vision from different points of view.

I think it is very important to make the distinction between culture and environment. Culture has nothing to do with environment. Game days, ice cream outings and office parties are fun, but they are part of the company environment, not the company’s culture. They are the perks of a culture that values its team members.

Although Midan’s values and mission are defined and a cohesive team is in place, we realize that our culture is not static. In fact, it’s very messy. Every time a new team member joins us, the culture changes. Every time a new client is acquired, the culture changes. And when a key or long-term staff member leaves, the cultural balance is upset and it takes a while for the culture to mend and regain its balance.

So the next time we find ourselves thinking that everything is changing, let’s think about our cultural framework. Chances are that the loose structure is still the same, and it’s up to us to continue to develop and support the culture with the new building blocks we are given.

3 Basic Things U.S. Consumers Take for Granted about Meat

I know I am preaching to the choir, but sometimes we all need to stop and say thank you. It is my turn to do that.

I have just returned from two weeks in Uganda. My trip spanned three different areas: Kampala, Uganda’s capital and only metropolitan area; Lira, a medium-size city 200 miles north and a bit east of Kampala; and the very desolate villages of Northern Uganda where there is no electricity, plumbing or asphalt roads, just extremely bumpy dirt roads with huge ruts carved by the recent rainy season.

My trip afforded me the opportunity to visit a couple of grocery stores in the capital city and witness how meat is sold in a mid-size town and in villages. In the remote areas, meat is a treat that’s saved for celebratory events and special holidays. The preparations for such a meal harken back to the early 20th century in the United States, when young boys were taught the art of catching, slaughtering and handing over meat to the women of the community for cooking.

So what did I miss about home while I was there? Lots of things (like a hot shower!), but given my profession, I found myself often thinking about what the U.S. meat industry is very good at:

  1. Safety – I don’t question the safety of the meat I buy at a grocery store or order at a restaurant. The industry’s track record has proven that I don’t need to worry about the protein on my plate.
  2. Variety – I appreciate very much that I can eat only what I choose to and don’t have to figure out how to consume an entire animal when I want to eat some protein.
  3. Taste – Thanks to the reliability of electricity and refrigeration, we can enjoy meat prepared to bring out its best taste, not cooked to a very high temperature for a very long time just to make it safe to eat.

My trip provided me with the opportunity to eat a variety of proteins: beef, pork, lots of chicken, some goat and even a few termites. One thing the Ugandans know better than the average American is where their meat comes from. Even in Kampala it was not unusual to see live chickens hanging upside down from bodas (small motorcycles) on their way to become someone’s dinner. At one point I was walking and had to scoot out of the way of cattle that were meandering unattended past me!

So as I re-enter life here in the states, I want to pause and count my blessings for all the hard workers in our meat supply chain – the farmers and ranchers, the packing plant line workers and the supermarket stockers – for the work they do that allows me to enjoy the best meat in the world!

I think I will go have a steak – medium doneness please!

See more photos of Danette’s Ugandan adventure!

 

Point of View: Millennials

By Rebecca Riddle, Jr. Art Director


I am a Millennial. One of 80 million. The generation born between 1980-2000, Millennials compose the largest generation in American history. Yes, we are larger than the Baby Boomers. In three years, we’re forecasted to outspend them. We may not be your target audience now, but soon, we might be your bread and butter. Are you making an effort to reach us?

We look very different from previous generations. Only 60% of us are white. For many older Americans, this statistic is uncomfortable, but for Millennials, this diversity is normal. Race isn’t a big issue for us. A fellow Millennial Jess Rainer describes this view in his book The Millennials, “We know racism still exists. We know injustices still take place. But our world is so different from the world of the Baby Boomers. When I read about the racism and the Civil Rights Movement, particularly in the 1960s, it seems so distant.” He continues, “For us ethnic diversity is normative… [We] rarely describe someone first by their skin color or by their ethnic origin.”

We are a diverse group within ourselves. No stereotypical Millennial exists. However, common themes have impacted large segments of us. One such theme is the idea of making a difference. Jess and Thom Rainer’s research found that “nine out of 10 Millennials believe it is their responsibility to make a difference in the world.” Whereas Baby Boomers were “self-absorbed and narcissistic…three out of four Millennials believe it is their role in life to serve others.” The idea of “paying it forward” has made impact on us. We want to live great lives, not in terms of wealth, fame or power, but in terms of making a great difference. As the largest generation in American history, we have the power to do so.

The grocery store will soon feel our impact. Jefferies and Alix Partners has a study called “Trouble in Aisle 5” that signals the challenges and opportunities grocers will face as their main audience transitions to Millennials.  One transition point is the appreciation of diversity in food. Millennials are “much more willing to try different types of cuisines.” Since most Millennials consider ethnic diversity as normal, our willingness to try different ethnic foods is a natural expression of ourselves.

A lot of research is being done to accurately understand Millennials. Get to know us. What you find may surprise you!

If you’d like to learn more from “Trouble in Aisle 5,” the entire report is posted here.

If you’d like to read more from Jess and Thom Rainer’s book, you can find it here.

Rebecca Riddle, Jr. Art Director
For over a year, Rebecca has been helping to make Midan and its client look good.  She lends her graphic design skills to a range of print, online advertising and digital marketing projects. 

Consumers: What They Really Think about Antibiotics + Livestock

Danette Amstein, Principal, blogs about her presentation to the American Meat Institute’s Antibiotics Workshop at the 2014 IPPE conference in Atlanta.  Watch to find out how you can positively impact consumer perceptions about antibiotic use in livestock. 

Download the IPPE presentation.

The Importance of Timelines and Due Dates

By Molly Wethington

I worked on a daily schedule before coming to Midan.  I had a daily routine and planned out a week in advance at most.  I think very differently now.  Being in a marketing agency is very fast-paced. There are many different projects going on all the time.  This is why I have learned that project management, timelines and due dates are vital in this industry.

My job requires me to do many different steps of many different projects. These projects can be on a loose time line. Many times I am told no rush, just whenever I get the time. This creates a problem for me.  In order to prioritize and do it correctly, I need to have due dates for things.  I’ve gotten in the habit of always asking for a due date and even though it may be an arbitrary date, it will ensure that the task does not continue to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.

Project planning has been a big learning curve for me, but is crucial to a successful, complete project. I want to get my timeline laid out as soon as possible when I have a project coming.  This way there will be no rush and confusion when I start working on the project. It is also important for me to remember that I am not usually the only one working on a project.  My steps are contingent on other steps and other team members’ steps are contingent on mine.  Sometimes our timelines are tight. It is important to look ahead and know what tasks are coming that I am responsible for. That way I get them completed in a timely fashion.  Ultimately, the client’s expectations are to have a successful project completed on time.  In the end, we are trying to meet and exceed those expectations and meeting timelines is a key part in doing so.

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