Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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2017 Retail Meat Review ering products that offer those benefits and commanding the appropriate price premium to buoy sales." In verbatim responses, survey participants were divided as to how prices impacted their sales, with a plurality indicating price decreases of the past year had little to no effect on meat department sales. Several noted that "beef prices have dropped, which helped sales," and others ex- perienced "more tonnage, less dollars," while one retailer indicated a "dramatic decrease in YTD sales." As with last year, most respondents said that temporary price reduc- tions are their most effective promotional tool. Yet another survey respondent declared that "competi- tive situations affect sales, not price," illustrating how cru- cial it is for retailers to create points of differentiation that drive repeat visits and banner loyalty. To that end, 98 percent of respondents reported having on-site butchers, compared with 82 percent a year ago, with 94 percent saying that they actively promote this service. Custom cuts, special orders and customer service domi- nated the features highlighted most, with one respondent asserting, "You name it, we can do it." "If butchers are not available or are not cost-effective, then hire enthusiastic meat personnel who understand your programs and can also provide tips and recipes on what to buy and how to prepare the products," Uetz suggests. "Train them to engage shoppers and assist when possible." Despite the continued rise of the service meat counter, case-ready sales are up, hav- ing risen to more than 53 percent of all meat department sales, versus the 44 percent that survey respondents noted a year ago, indicating that speed and convenience remain important to shoppers who lack time to linger over even the most alluring butcher case. Asked to name one thing their sup- pliers could do to help improve their meat departments, most survey respon- dents recommended either better prices or more promotions, with one suggesting that they "work with my employees to make the public understand the reasons for the problems in prices." To be sure, thinking outside the box will be critical for future success in meat sales. "Supermarkets have the fantastic ability to carry so many products, but when building a meal, all the components are scattered all over the store," Nielsen's Schmansky notes. "Meat is isolated near the back of the store, away from other areas that complete the meal. Using opportunities to bring quick meal solutions together for the consumer, with meat as the center of the plate, will win." is is critical, she stresses, since quick and convenient meal solutions like meal kits and deli prepared foods, as well as restaurants, compete for share of stomach and sales. Uetz concurs: "Provide recipes and meal solution suggestions that incorporate products from other depart- ments within the store, use cross-promotions, suggest pairings from the butcher, and even consider using a chef for in-store demos and cooking classes, and as a store spokesperson for new and exciting meals." Additionally, retailers can increase sales by building on existing trip connections, Current Year a go P e r C ent of sales from C ase-read Y P rodu C ts Per C ent of sales from full-servi C e P rodu C ts P e r C ent of sales from C ase-read Y P rodu C ts Per C ent of sales from full-servi C e P rodu C ts 53.2% 44.3% 46.8% 55.7% What P er C ent of Y our total fresh meat sales are from C ase-read Y versus full-servi C e P rodu C ts? Source: Progressive Grocer Market Research, 2017 82 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | February 2017

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