Thinking back on 2021, it’s challenging to distill it from the many, many months we now lump together as “the COVID-19 pandemic.” Although the coronavirus still dominated plenty of conversations this past year, at Midan we also kept our eye on other important topics swirling in the meat industry. Our thought leaders covered everything from sustainability and regenerative agriculture to clean eating trends and multicultural meat consumers, weighing in with insights drawn from our own consumer research.
We’ve rounded up some of their key takeaways below. We hope that our 2021 insights have added value, spurred deeper consideration or sparked a new idea.
Here’s to 2022!
Michael, a research guy at heart and a devotee of the latest and greatest meat consumer trends, shared learnings from our Multicultural Meat Consumers research in the June issue of The Shelby Report:
As the U.S. population becomes ever more racially and ethnically diverse, it’s critical to stay up to speed on the evolving needs of today’s multicultural meat shoppers. Retailers, take note: Only about 12% of shoppers, regardless of ethnicity, purchase meat somewhere other than their primary grocery outlet, making it even more important that your meat case has the variety of products your customers are shopping for. Curating a store that reflects your shoppers is integral to being your community’s grocer of choice.
Danette is all about using brand storytelling to communicate authentically with your target consumers. In her September Meatingplace blog, she highlighted key takeaways from our Sustainably Raised Meat research:
It turns out the key to unlock the credibility of the meat industry’s sustainability efforts is animal welfare, not the environment. When asked about sustainable meat, many meat eaters do not immediately think of environmental topics but instead associate it with the animal’s diet and welfare. If you want to gain trust around meat sustainability with today’s consumers, you must first explain how animals are cared for.
As a brand strategist, Molly spends a lot of time thinking about how to connect with today’s meat consumers where they are. In her August Midan blog, she reminded us that the current “clean eating” trend offers unique opportunities for the meat industry:
According to Healthline.com, clean eating “simply involves choosing minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits.” Given the natural state of fresh beef and pork plus the current focus on personal wellness, the timing has never been better for the meat industry to capitalize on the clean eating consumer trend. The meat industry should also feel empowered to spread the truth about plant-based meats to clean eating consumers.
As a consumer insights guru, Kerry knows how critical it is to stay ahead of consumer demands. She shed light on a topic gaining ground within the meat industry in her September Midan blog: regenerative agriculture.
Many younger consumers no longer believe that sustainability alone is enough and are driving the push toward “regeneration,” the practice of actively repairing the earth versus just reducing harm. Those of us in the meat industry should pay attention to the rising awareness around these environmental issues. As the consumers of tomorrow actively seek out claims-based meat like grass-fed and no antibiotics ever, is there room in the meat case for one more claim — is cattle raised using regenerative agriculture practices the next frontier?
Rick, our data guy, was dialed into meat consumers throughout the pandemic, surveying them regularly to learn how it impacted their meat behaviors. His learnings led to these meat e-commerce insights on the Midan blog:
In March 2021, Midan surveyed 1,000 meat and chicken consumers to understand how meat e-commerce was faring a year after the coronavirus hit the U.S. While COVID-19 amplified online meat shopping early in the pandemic, we learned that e-commerce platforms continued to thrive even as quarantine restrictions lifted and vaccines rolled out last spring. By March, click and collect services had grown 10 percentage points since the beginning of the year, helping set the stage for ongoing growth of meat e-commerce.
As our resident food scientist and insights specialist, Connor is always interested in what’s next for the meat industry. In her July blog, she gave us a tutorial on three meat technologies on the horizon: non-GMO meat, gene-edited meat and cell-based meat.
Today, food technology has advanced to a point where the definition of “meat” is a bit fuzzier than it once was. Non-GMO meat, gene-edited meat and cell-based meat are the products of tomorrow that we need to work toward understanding today. Whether we like it or not, these technologies will be disruptors in the meat case and remaining competitive will mean understanding and going head-to-head against these new meat products.
Now that we’ve taken a look back, it’s time to face forward. Don’t miss our “Top Trends for 2022” blog posting later this month.
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