Recession hit shoppers more choosy in meat department

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags American meat institute Beef Meat

More than half of US shoppers have changed their meat purchasing habits in the past year as they seek to get the best value deals in every trip to the grocery store, according to a new study.

The delicate economic climate and reduced spending power of some consumers has led to cooking more meals from scratch, use of money saving measures like coupons, and cutting back on luxury goods.

Even though the indications are that average spend is still around $91 a week, the latest edition of the Power of Meat​ study by the American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute suggests that shoppers are planning purchases before they head to the store, and are spending longer looking at labels and flyers advertising deals.

Sixty nine percent of respondents said they stock up on meat when it is on sale; and 67 percent said they now buy less expensive cuts of meat than they used to.

Shoppers are said to be less brand-sensitive when buying meat – both in fresh and processed form. The trend towards private-label, pervasive in the food sector at large at the moment, was also in evidence for meats, with just 29 per cent of shoppers preferring national brands of processed meats, like bacon and sausages, compared to 37 per cent last year.

Moreover, there are indications that people are turning to discount and warehouse retailers when they want to buy meat. Although full-service supermarkets are still said to account for 66 per cent of meat purchases, some business has been lost to warehouse club stores.

Value and focus

The researchers in the survey warn that food firms should not consider price and value to be the same thing. Value, they say, is determined by price but within set boundaries of quality acceptability.

“Both price and quality perception are different for various audiences, making ‘know your shoppers’ more crucial than ever”.

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