Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020 - 39

they go to the grocery store and that includes turkey products. We've
also seen a number of new buyers to the category as well as lapsed
shoppers coming back to the category during the pandemic, all of
which are helping to drive sales and volumes."
Christa Leupen, public relations manager for Garner, N.C.-based
Butterball, said the industry has moved from the panic buying
experienced early in the pandemic to sustained elevated sales in retail
to balance the disruption to the U.S. foodservice business.
"Turkey holds a unique advantage as a protein because it's naturally
healthy, versatile and delicious, and a great alternative for consumers
who suffer from more chicken fatigue," she said. "And our recent
innovations make it easier than ever for consumers to enjoy delicious
Butterball turkey in new and easy ways."
For instance, the company is seeing an increased demand for valueadded cooked products like turkey breakfast sausage and fresh, raw
turkey products as more people are cooking at home or are becoming
more comfortable and exploratory with cooking at home.
Kim Anderson, brand manager for Austin, Minn.-based Jennie-O
Turkey Store division of Hormel Foods, said that as consumers continue
to spend time and cook more at home, they are looking for simple,
delicious ideas for dinner and are more open to adding turkey to a
variety of meals.
The company offers everything from fresh ground turkey, to fresh
turkey dinner sausages, to turkey burgers, hot dogs, bacon and more.
Sean Sáenz, senior director of meat and seafood operations for
Encino, Calif.-based Gelson's Markets, a supermarket chain with stores
in Southern California, noted the fresh turkey category has grown in
sales and volume during the pandemic more than 30% year-over-year.
"This is in large part due to the consumer looking for healthy meal
solutions, shopping more frequently and wanting to try new recipes
for lean protein offerings," he said. "One of the key elements for
sustained growth is processing and merchandising fresh turkey parts, as
customers are looking for additional healthy meal solutions."
Lake Forest, Calif.-based Before the Butcher is now offering a
100% plant-based turkey burger in supermarkets called the Uncut
Turkey Burger.
"When we developed our line of plant-based burgers, we first
developed a beef-based burger, but then decided to offer a variety,
and knew we needed to have poultry, and were wavering back and
forth between chicken and turkey," said Danny O'Malley, founder and

president of the company. "We decided to go with both of them, and
we have seen a lot of fans of our turkey burger. It's one of my favorite
products."

Home for the holidays
Leupen said as the calendar gets closer to Thanksgiving, celebration
plans are solidifying, and company research revealed nearly 90% of
consumers say they'll make the Thanksgiving meal happen, even if the
celebration looks a little different this year.
"The immediate focus is on products purchased mostly around
Thanksgiving, like whole turkeys, turkey breast roasts, ready-to-roast
and fully cooked options," she said. "In fact, we're anticipating an
increase in overall holiday gatherings as 30% of people say they are
hosting only immediate family this year, which is an increase over 18%
of people who typically would do so."
Anderson noted Jennie-O is also planning
its holiday strategy, which revolves around the
expectations that things won't be as big this year.
"For the holidays, we know that people are going
to have to be together in smaller gatherings, so
items like our Jennie-O Oven Ready boneless
breast will be a great fit for families that will not
need the large whole bird this year," she said.
Still, smaller gatherings don't necessarily
mean smaller turkeys, though, as Butterball's
research indicates that three-quarters of those
hosting Thanksgiving plan to purchase the
same size or a larger turkey compared to
last year.

Marketing and merchandising advice
Gelson's Markets has found success by incorporating all fresh turkey
parts in a complete blocked module within the poultry category in the
retail sales case.
"Just as you would see in the ground beef or ground meat category,
offering a variety of different cuts and pack sizes-as well as fresh
ground turkey (breast and dark meat)-for the customer to choose will
help you to achieve continued sales and volume growth within your
turkey category," Sáenz said.
Butterball has decades of leadership and study to help retailers drive
holiday traffic-whether in-store or online this year-and maximize
profitability.
"While strategy should be customized to each retailer, there are some
things we've found to be universally helpful, like merchandising top
revenue/margin items at the front of the traffic flow to make consumers
pass high impact endcap displays of fresh whole turkeys and featuring
smaller unit-size products in ads and online to let consumers hosting
smaller Thanksgiving gatherings know you have the turkey products
that meet their needs," Leupen said.
With the pandemic changing things, retailers need to pay special
attention to their online holiday presence this year.
"In only four months, online grocery adoption increased to a level
that experts thought would take four years to achieve," Leupen said. "It's
important not to treat turkey items like center-of-the-store items when

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