Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 43

Look for more
grab-and-go
and other selfserve options in
post-COVID meat
departments.

SHOPPING FOR MEAT IN THE SUPERMARKET has evolved through the years, as
department design has changed due to consumer needs and elevated consumer
knowledge of product offerings.
Today's case layouts make it easy for customers to find what they need, and pointof-sale communication lets people know what quality attributes are attached to the
items in that section.
Jay Avey, meat and seafood director for Homeland, a supermarket chain based in
Oklahoma City, shared the conception that a meat department starts like anywhere
else-where you spend money budgeting.
" Typically, the leadership of the company, finance, legal, real estate, architects and
engineering will meet several times prior to determine the location in the store, "
he said. " With the details of site space/requirements, building restrictions, location
planning, and budget, the design and engineering teams can build the concept to
what the leadership of a company is envisioning on paper. "
Among the factors that are considered before a final plan is sent to design and
engineering are what aspects of the department are effective at sales, customer
service, profitability and keeping the store a leader in the meat business.
" We'll also look at what aspects define our brand and what is outdated or not
effective, " Avey said. " Some confident risks are taken in each design that keeps
you ahead. Sometimes those design risks don't work, or simply go out of style as
customers' shopping demands change. "
Todd Allen, director of meat and seafood for Raley's Supermarkets, a chain of
126 stores headquartered in West Sacramento, Calif., noted the meat department is
designed with the customer in mind.
" In most Raley's locations, self-serve or packaged product is first as you enter the
department so that if you do not have any questions and know exactly what you
want, you can easily grab what you need and be on your way, " he said. " You will find
the full-service cases and ready-to-cook items at the back of the department. If you
have questions or require service, our team members will take care of you there. "

Proper layout

SOURCE

Consumer expectation drives the decision-making process when it comes to layouts
within the meat department for most stores.
For example, Raley's tends to put packaged value-added items next to full-service
cases because that is often where customers go looking for meal solutions and
ready-to-cook items.
" Also, if we have a lot of consumer inquiries surrounding the location of certain
items, that may also prompt a move, " Allen said. " We also group items together that
consumers may find convenient, like putting plant-based burgers next to burgers
made from beef. "
Scott Short, category manager of meat and seafood or KeHE Distributors, a
Naperville, Ill.-based wholesale food supplier to supermarkets, noted that as part
of its partnership with retailers, the company assists with assortment, layout, and
merchandising recommendations.
" When creating a new schematic and deciding where to merchandise a product,
I will place the higher-margin items on the shelving that sits at eye level, " he said.
" This boosts the chances of selling these items and increases the overall margin
performance of the department. These items also tend to have a higher dollar value,
helping to grow total store sales and their average basket size. "
For staple items, like boneless chicken breast, Short will place those items on the
top shelf of a self-service meat case as customers will always find and buy these
staple items no matter where they are placed within the set.
" In addition, I will place higher end items on the lower shelves, " Short said.
" Generally, a store will have their sale or ad items in the very bottom section of the
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