This year, many Americans are hoping for a normal fall and holiday season. Vaccinations have helped many people feel more comfortable traveling and gathering again. As virus waves and variants come and go throughout the country, many retailers find they’re still having to adjust and pivot. No matter what consumers are experiencing though, it’s important to keep convenience in mind for shoppers preparing to gather again.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Midan Marketing saw a shift in meat consumers. According to our Meat Consumer Segmentation research, Convenience Chasers, the segment of consumers who prioritize convenience and price, increased from 30% pre-pandemic to 39% in September 2020.1 This shift toward convenience will be important for retailers to consider as adults return to offices, children return to school, and friends and families make time to be together.
Speaking of the holidays, planning for another unpredictable year can be tough. Last year, smaller holiday gatherings meant a run on smaller turkeys and cuts of meat. While we expect more larger gatherings this year (and therefore larger cuts of meat), price is likely to still be a factor.
Hopefully a lower spike in prices will bring somewhat of a reprieve to consumers’ wallets this year.
Another COVID-19-influenced trend we expect to see around this year’s celebrations is that of premiumization. During the pandemic, IRI noted that customers of all income levels were trading up to more premium items across the store, including at the meat case.2
When taking a cut-based approach to premium, holiday favorites like beef tenderloin and ribeye are some of the definitive meat cuts. For this study, IRI defined premium beef as any cut with an average price per volume of at least 1.25x the entire fresh beef category. Using this measurement, tenderloin is the most premium cut, with an average price three times more than the average of fresh beef; ribeye comes in second at 1.86x the category average.3
The trend toward premiumization goes hand-in-hand with an increase in consumer confidence and knowledge of meat. During the pandemic, 63% of meat consumers reported being at least a little more confident and knowledgeable about cooking meat than they were pre-pandemic.4 This means more consumers are trying new cuts, larger cuts and – in some cases – specialty cuts.
2 IRI, Consumer Purchasing Behaviors: What Is Here to Stay? AMC Presentation, March 2021.
3 IRI Market Advantage (POS), MULO, 52 weeks ending 7/11/2021.
4 Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics LLC, The Power of Meat 2020 Midyear: An In-Depth Look at Meat Through the Shopper’s Eyes, Report sponsored by Sealed Air Food Care Division/Cryovac® and Published by Food Marketing Institute Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education.
This content originally appeared in The Shelby Report