Fresh Food

Evolution of the Meat Case

Shoppers and retailers alike seek quality and convenience with case ready solutions

The push for convenience is a major driver for innovation in the meat department. Retailers see consistent demand from shoppers prioritizing foods that require minimal prep, if any: Two in five meat consumers say they seek out products that take less time to prepare, according to a 2020 survey by Midan Marketing.

Grocers who are not already offering case ready products face an uphill battle to gain share against other retailers in the segment. To help drive sales in the meat department and across the store, offering convenient products is necessary to compete—and maximizing margins with quality offerings is necessary to win.

Convenience for consumers

Consumer definitions for what makes a meat product convenient can vary, but a few key attributes are at the center: Shoppers seek out cuts that save time prepping at home, portions that suit their needs and don’t result in waste and simple packaging that doesn’t leak in transport.

Beyond time-saving benefits, pre-marinated or seasoned meat and poultry products can help ensure a great result, offering consumers increased confidence when cooking at home. Demand for value added meats, such as ready-to-cook kebabs, meatloaves, meatballs and chicken wings, has thus seen an uptick over recent years—in 2022, 67% of consumers say they regularly purchase value added meat and poultry products compared to 37% just six years prior, according to research from The Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education and FMI.

Many consumers are willing to pay a premium for value added meats, but affordability is still a shopper priority retailers ought to consider as they mind their margins. Especially as food prices rise, sticker shock can affect shoppers’ purchasing decisions.

Though market conditions are a contributing factor to increased food costs, retailers can still implement strategies to help keep costs under control in their stores, such as by reducing labor and minimizing wasted product.

Convenience for retailers

Meeting demand for value added meats gives retailers an opportunity to increase sales—but managing margins means keeping costs in check in the process. Trimming, seasoning and packaging meats in-house means more work for the meat department—an area where many grocers are already reducing services and operating hours due to labor challenges. In addition, meats prepared and repackaged in-house may result in more waste and may also be prone to spoiling more quickly than case ready meats prepared by a supplier.

What’s more, by funneling more labor into back of house prep work, employees may not have time to attend to shopper-facing tasks at the meat counter, such as answering questions about different products and offering suggestions for purchasing.

For these reasons, finding a supplier for case ready value added meats presents a solution that’s convenient for retailers as well as shoppers. According to the 2022 Power of Meat report from The Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education and FMI, 81% of consumers say they think case ready meats are equally as good—if not better—than meats cut and packaged in the store.

Choosing a name-brand meat supplier can further augment the potential for sales by boosting consumer confidence in product quality and driving purchases among brand-loyal shoppers (particularly younger generations).

Solutions from Tyson Foods offer all the benefits case ready beef and pork products have to offer, including lowered labor demands, increased margins and high-quality meats to help boost customer satisfaction and keep them coming back for more. By leaving the cutting and packaging work to the experts at Tyson Foods, retailers can help reduce waste and enjoy a longer shelf life for case ready meats.

To learn more about Tyson Foods products, click here.

This post is sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc.