The Rising Demand for Specialty Meats

The Demand for Specialty Meat Products is Increasing. Here’s What it Means for Your Store.

Dec 1, 2020

Consumers now have more choices than ever to navigate at the grocery store, especially when it comes to meat products—not only are they deciding between types of proteins, but also between cuts, from the service counter vs. pre-packaged, fresh vs. frozen, value-added, family packs…

And, they have more factors influencing those decisions than in the past, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, consumers were showing a heightened awareness of health and wellness, increasingly seeking out nutritious, Natural products.

Total claims-based meat sales grew by nearly 32% during the pandemic period. –Midyear Power of Meat study 2020

Now, following the first wave of the pandemic, consumers are continuing to prioritize healthy eating. The Midyear Power of Meat 2020 report shows that 26% of consumers are making “more than normal” efforts to choose nutritious and healthy meat and poultry options, while 55% of consumers are making the same efforts as before the pandemic.

At the same time, consumers are continuing to buy claims-based meat products at higher rates. According to the report, total claims-based meat sales grew by nearly 32% during the pandemic period, with antibiotic claims up by 30.9%. Consumer priorities for health and wellness is no doubt one of the driving factors behind the growth, along with continued attention to animal welfare and grass fed meats.

But, the report reveals that interestingly, 31% of claims-based meat buyers during the pandemic period purchased it unintentionally or because of product availability. We could predict the behavior to dip following the pandemic; however, the majority (75%) of those unintentional buyers plan to continue purchasing claims-based meat beyond the pandemic. It’s safe to say the demand for claims-based meats isn’t going anywhere, even following the pandemic.

So, what do the trends mean for your store?

1. You can reach new (and convert more) shoppers.

Offering claims-based meats attracts shoppers with higher spending power and varying demographics to your meat case. The Midyear Power of Meat 2020 study reveals that flexitarians, Gen Xers, and millennials with children 0-13 are key buyers of claims-based meats, and these groups tend to have higher income, spending more on trips (and making more frequent trips) to grocery stores than other groups. This group tends to have an elevated interest in health, animal welfare, and environmental issues, and they generally de-emphasize price and promotions when making purchasing decisions.

While claims-based meats as a general category attracts these shoppers, it’s important to consider specific claims and shopper priorities when choosing a product to carry. Current trends indicate that shoppers prioritize some product attributes over others—antibiotic-free, Natural, “never ever” and grass fed meats are in the highest demand compared to other claims. Adding products with these claims to your meat case is one way to ensure you’re reaching new shoppers and converting existing customers to meat products with higher price points.

shoppers seek out production claims amid COVID-19 pandemic

Midyear Power of Meat Report 2020

2. You can drive customer loyalty.

Carrying claims-based meat lets shoppers know you share their values and care about what they’re looking for in the products they buy. Purchasers of claims-based meats tend to favor specialty stores, according to the Midyear Power of Meat 2020 report and feel a sense of social responsibility. The report also shows that shoppers of these demographics are “true believers” in the causes they support, addressing their concerns about health, animal welfare, and the environment through claims-based meat purchases. Offering products with claims that align with these values will not only draw these customers to your store but keep them coming back to it.

Beyond social and emotional motivations, value and quality remain major drivers. In addition to claims-based meats as a general category, Natural products, USDA Prime and Choice beef, and value-added options (such as meal kits) create even more differentiators to keep customers loyal to your store.

3. You can boost sales in your meat department—and throughout your store.

Not only are claims-based meat buyers more likely to spend more for premium meat products, but they’re also more likely to splurge on other items throughout the store. Beef, whether conventional or claims-based, significantly bumps the average basket ring.

Total U.S, average Basket Size

While conventional beef ups the basket ring from an average of $37 to $86, no antibiotics ever beef, for example, increases the ring to $103.81. These numbers illustrate a high potential for growth just by adding any claims-based beef to your store.

How to Find a Claims-Based Meat Producer

The benefits of offering claims-based meat are clear, but like the demand for claims-based meats, the number of products and producers are also rising. So, how do you find a partner you can trust?

Start by looking for brands that prioritize transparency and create added value for their retail partners, by providing marketing collateral and support, industry updates, and resources for consumers. Seek out brands with a commitment to producing high-quality, consistent meats and who can back their claims with data or by offering insights like regional sales growth potential.

average basket spend with beef

Source: IRI Market Advantage Total Store View + Perimeter, Total Beef, Latest 52 WE 06/14/2020

For example, at Aspen Ridge, our retailers not only enjoy the returns that come from USDA Choice Natural products with verifiable Angus genetics, but also receive access to exclusive insights about how Aspen Ridge products benefit their stores. We provide the latest industry trends to help our retail partners stay ahead and offer resources for helping build consumer confidence in preparation, such as Aspen Ridge recipes, blog posts, video content, and social shareables.

Get in touch with Aspen Ridge® Natural Angus Beef today to discover opportunities for your store and follow us on LinkedIn for more industry insights.