In its eleventh annual Power of Meat survey, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) revealed how shoppers in 2015 made decisions in the meat aisle, and what they placed in high value when buying meat, among other things.
In the report, data from IRi revealed dollar growth for nearly all fresh meat and poultry segments—conventional meat sales rose 3.8% to $42 billion in sales, organic grew by 31.5% to become a $569 million category, and value-added grew 6.4% to $4 billion.
Concerning the packaged goods sector, the report said that, because 40% of Americans surveyed only “occasionally” or “hardly ever” know what they are cooking two hours before dinnertime, this can be a strong opportunity for ready-to-eat, heat-and-eat, and also value-added meat and poultry.
According to the report, this year’s study found “growing interest in branded meat and poultry, whether national brand or private label.” Meanwhile, the share of customers who cite having no preference between national brand and private label was “at its lowest point in the eleven-year history of the report.”
“After being flat for several years, the outright preference for national brands when buying fresh meat and poultry is showing a long-term rise,” the report said. For processed meats, national brands have always held a very strong position “and are at their highest point of 40 percent this year” in terms of percentage of surveyed consumers’ preferences.
But the rise of national brands does not mean a decline for private brands. The percentage of consumers preferring private label fresh meat rose to 21%, and the preference for processed to 18%.
Switching it up on the shopping trip
Included in a list of the study’s key findings is the trend that meat purchase decisions are increasingly shifting to in-store. “While meat and poultry remained well-researched list items for many shoppers, a greater share made the ultimate buying decision between species, cuts and brand instore — putting additional emphasis on operational excellence,” the report said.
Additionally, due to high price sensitivity, consumers shopping for protein today are more open to switching within the meat department for different cuts and brands, while another significant portion of consumers sought protein sources outside the meat case altogether.
“Millennials are more likely to use meat alternatives for ease of preparation,” the report found. “The use of protein alternatives is led by eggs and beans, with prime reasons being adding variety, health, and cost.”