Progressive Grocer Independent

FEB 2016

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Meat Departments 36 | Progressive Grocer Independent | February 2016 role in the meat category over the past fve years. USDA certifed- organic meats — just one part of the market for meat raised without routine use of nonthera- peutic antibiotics — comprised the fastest-growing segment of the $31 billion organic food industry in 2011. In 2013, sales of organic meat, poul- try and fsh were up 11 percent over the prior year, to $675 million, ac- cording to the Brattleboro, Vt.-based Organic Trade Association. Tis is no longer a small local movement. It's the new commodity. It's the new black. Your meat department will have to meet the demands of this new world. As larger retailers look to tap into the demand for local meat products, expect the market to be tight. Now is the time to partner with local farms and ranches. Start an Uber-local Meat Program Not sure how to go about starting a local meat program? Here are a few suggestions. • Defne local, and be transparent about it. For one retailer, it may be within 50 to 250 miles; for another, it may be within the state. Tis decision will be dependent on geographic locale and availability. • Defne the genetics — this is very important. Te reason certain breeds or genetic lines fell out of favor was to eliminate variance in quality. For pork, that meant pro- ducing lean hogs, and for beef, that meant fattening up cows to impart the internal marbling consum- ers love. Make some decisions on the type of animals/ genetics you think are best for your customer. Do you want a leaner Duroc hog or a fattier Berkshire hog? What attri- butes or products would make sense in your locale? Do you want to start a charcuterie program? • Determine how many animals you will need. Work with your local breed association to fnd farmers who may want to partner with and raise for you directly. • Work with your local meat- processing association to identify a state-inspected slaughter and meat- processing plant. If your marketing area crosses state lines, you will need to fnd a federally inspected plant. Can the facility handle your volume? Will your company have consistent supply and delivery times? • Train your meat staf to cut and merchandise cuts properly. Meat associates should also be able to com- municate attributes, selling features and cooking methods. Less is More An important aspect of the new customer that's important to take into account is that they're thrifty. "Millennials are educated and realistic about their fnances," says Seth Marlatt, VP of analytics and research at Mountain S M a p s t r 2 Consumers want more than just a cheap price. … They want handcrafted products and they want to talk to an expert. A n e i m i t h " e r t s V r Market trends indicate a growing demand for more knowledgeable, skilled and customer- oriented butchers at all levels of the industry, espe- cially at the independent grocer level.

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