Fresh Food

Merchandising, Assortment Drives Meat Case Sales

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Retailers can optimize the potential of their meat departments with creative merchandising and an assortment that satisfies the preferences of their local customer base.

Merchandising that suggests meal solutions can help drive meat sales, no matter where in the store it’s done. For example, displaying meats in small mobile coolers in other departments along with accompanying products is one way to help build customers’ baskets.

“It becomes not just a piece of meat but a meal idea to a degree,” says Kent Harrison, vice president of marketing and premium programs for the Tyson Fresh Meats team.

Using signage in other departments to suggest meat pairings is another effective way of encouraging consumers to visit the meat and seafood department and build a bigger basket, he says.

“When they buy a meat case product, it provides the ultimate basket ring-up for that retailer, because with that meat case purchase comes everything that goes with it,” says Harrison. “If you're buying burgers, you're buying buns; if you're buying steaks, you're buying vegetables.”

Variety is key

Consumers also need to be able to select from the right assortment of meat products with the attributes they are looking for. That requires retailers to have an understanding of their customer preferences and to provide enough choices for their shoppers, while at the same time being mindful of efficiency.

For those consumers interested in higher-quality meat products, Tyson offers these items through its Chairman’s Reserve® beef and pork products—including strip steak, flat iron steak and top sirloin steak, as well as pork tenderloin, baby back ribs, pork ribeye chops, bone-in pork spareribs and more—that satisfy consumer demand for specific meat-product attributes.

Retailers also have an opportunity to increase sales in the meat department by tapping into consumers’ increasing interest in health. As consumers shop for granola bars and other foods that tout their high protein content, for example, it’s worth reminding these shoppers that meat “is the original protein,” says Harrison.

“Even though people know that intrinsically, unless it's advertised and pointed out, sometimes it doesn't come across,” he says.

In addition, consumers increasingly associate clean labels with healthy eating. In the meat department, Tyson products such as Open Prairie® Natural Pork and Open Prairie Natural Angus beef help retailers meet this demand. These products are free from added hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients.

Finding a partner to help develop marketing strategy can help increase sales as well. Tyson works with individual retailers to find the best ways to drive traffic to the meat department, whether through traditional print flyers, online channels and social media, coupons or in-store promotions. Often it makes sense to continually reinforce awareness of the meat using multiple marketing channels then use vehicles such as coupons to provide incentives to come into the department.

Tyson’s Star Ranch Angus® beef products are positioned as the best-supported Angus brand in the marketplace, Harrison says.

“We have a foundation of marketing elements that are important in the meat case—counter dividers, signage, posters and other things that are attention-getting,” he says. “But where we really end up getting traction is when we go to the individual retailer and we sit down and we ask them, ‘What, in your marketplace in this geography, works to reach consumers?’”

In order to increase meat sales, a bit of creativity is needed, as is tenacity. By planning multiple angles of marketing and promotion, more consumers will end up with meat in their carts.

This post is sponsored by Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.