After analyzing the 2016 Power of Meat Update published by the Food Marketing Institute North American Meat Institute it highlighted the tremendous opportunity that exists for retailing meat with content marketing. This annual report provides a unique perspective on how consumer preferences and buying patterns have shifted in the past decade, and addresses the hot new trends affecting the meat department.
The meat department is one of the most important categories for many retailers. It is a prime way to differentiate from the competition as well as a significant driver of sales and foot traffic. In the U.S.A in 2015, meat and poultry dollar growth was strong, at +5.2 percent.
Nearly half of all shoppers decide which meat and poultry items they will purchase pre-trip. As such, advertising and sales promotions continue to play an important role in the meat/poultry purchase. Nearly eight in 10 shoppers check their primary protein store’s weekly advertising prior to shopping and 59 percent check multiple advertisements. While traditional media remains the most used vehicle for researching meat/poultry promotions, its use declined in favor of digital and mobile research, including email, social media and apps. This move to digital by consumers opens up an opportunity for retailers to either dominate and consolidate or to erode another players market share.
Segmented/targeted promotions, versus one-size-fits-all, consequently can become increasingly important. Particularly as the study found a big disconnect with shoppers not currently looking to meat department associates when they need help,instead using digital resources or asking family and friends.
Consequently this provides the perfect backdrop and creates the opportunity for retailers to become the trusted resource (perfect for retailing meat with content marketing) that can have a big impact on spending, satisfaction and loyalty.
For many shoppers who cite that their dinner plans are all but set in stone, with 40 percent only “occasionally” or “hardly ever” knowing what is for dinner two hours from meal time. A strategic suggestive database marketing program will super charge meat sales conducted effectively.
Millennials in particular show a high interest in meal ideas, side dishes, photos of the finished product and links to digital sources to learn more. Hence providing a strong opportunity for heat and-eat, ready-to-eat and value-added meat and poultry. However, these time-saving food retailing solutions are competing against fast food and restaurant food service when it comes to the last minute dinner decisions. Emphasis here should focus on the flavorful, fast and easy meal solutions that heat and eat or ready to eat provides, something that is easy to achieve with content marketing.
According to the report shoppers’ self-rated knowledge of various aspects of meat/poultry preparation is moderate at best. However, when needing help, few ask meat department associates and instead use digital resources or ask family/friends. Nurturing shopper loyalty through available, friendly and knowledgeable online marketing can be a big win for retailers, with many shoppers seeking more information and education, particularly Millennials.
Another shopper trend that retailing meat through content marketing marketing could support is the preference toward locally raised, antibiotic-free and grass-fed. While many shoppers cited being interested in these product attributes, actual purchases often do not reflect this cited interest when shoppers are confronted with price premiums attached to some of these attributes. Consumers increasingly value, perhaps even demand, having access to this product and method of production but to date instore promotions alone are not enough to sway purchase. Whilst these trends are still in their infancy the best way to grow the interest and to better ascertain whether there is any cut through would be via strong and measurable digital marketing rather than via the more expensive and less measurable traditional media route.
This strategy to retail meat with content marketing is further supported in the research where it found that meat consumption shoppers’ self-rated knowledge of various aspects of meat/poultry preparation is moderate at best, with more than half of the shoppers describing their skills as “merely managing” or “needing help” and 49 percent saying they would use how-to instructions provided by the meat industry.
Whilst it is still imperative that in store promotions, exceptional presentation, great customer service and knowledgeable meat staff are at the forefront of meat retailing, the fact that most of the purchasing planning is done pre trip – a strong digital content marketing platform will provide enormous pay back.