A Marketer's Lens By Danette Amstein
Danette Amstein is a managing principal for Midan Marketing - a full-service agency that solely focuses on supporting the meat industry.

One game-changing thing consumers are doing processors must address

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

Recently I was asked a question that has kept my wheels turning:  What is the one thing processors must address to keep consumers coming back, purchasing more and more meat?

Wow – I’m limited to one thing?  I had to ponder this for a while. Interestingly, it turns out my answer is about one thing

Twenty-three percent of shoppers buy meat and poultry one meal at a time, according to the Power of Meat 2019 report.

This “one thing” is a game changer for processors and for retailers.

Sound a little crazy to you? I know I don’t shop that way, but then again, I am a farm girl transplanted to the suburbs. I grew up with a freezer full of beef where a trip to the grocery store was about getting everything else. Sometimes Mom would drive 40 miles to the “big” store, where we would stock up on two weeks’ worth of groceries. So… my experience is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Buying one meal at a time… What does that look like? 

First, let’s start with who shops this way. Sixty percent of these shoppers are Gen Z or Younger Millennials, ages 18 – 28; 30% live in urban areas.Makes sense to me - most are single or don’t have kids at home, so planning is not really a requirement.*

Now let’s talk about what this means.

One meal at a time means consumers are purchasing a meal each day from somewhere. Some of these will be at a restaurant, others at a supermarket, a convenience store or a deli.

One meal at a time means these shoppers are looking to satisfy their taste buds today – not planning for and purchasing what they are going to eat next Wednesday. Thirty-seven percent are value-added buyers who want to cut down on prep steps with products that are seasoned/marinated or even fully cooked.*

One meal at a time also means that if we are not offering the right products in the right portions at the right price then we might as well not be offering them at all. This means a variety of package sizes, including single portion packages, is critical to get meat picked up and put in the basket for that day. These folks are not interested in freezing product or batch cooking. They are cooking tonight.

One meal at a time means more opportunity to be in front of and top-of-mind with the shopper because the question of “What’s for dinner?” is being asked every single day.

So how do we reach them?

Well, we have to reach them in more than one way. This requires both an in-store and online strategy.

We need to reach them in the store they are shopping in, through signage and packaging. Our packages have to have curb appeal; they must grab these young shoppers’ attention and help them step outside their comfort zone of tried-and-true cuts and limited meal prep knowledge.

We must also reach them on the social platforms they are scrolling through as they think about options for dinner tonight. This has to happen in their newsfeed and is even more influential when the suggestion comes from their friends (think Instagram photos of what their friends had for dinner last night) with the all-important hashtag: #YouWantYourBrandNameHere.

We have to create an experience that allows them to feel good about the meat they are eating so they are talking (aka posting) about it for others to see and be inspired by.

If you’re not already working on this, you are missing out on an opportunity to capture today’s youngest meat eaters. To keep these young shoppers engaged, our one focus has to be one meal at a time.

* Power of Meat 2019 Report

Editor's note: Look for a deep dive into the "one meal at a time" trend and its implications in the May issue of Meatingplace in print.


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