Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 44

Meat: Department Design

meat case. By placing your higher-end and high dollar items such as
fillet mignon, NY strip steak and ribeye, near these sale items, you give
greater exposure to them. Almost every customer shopping in a meat
department buys the featured ad items. "
Apollo Heidelmark, meat, poultry and seafood manager of Weavers
Way Co-op, a member-owned grocery co-op with stores in Northwest
Philadelphia and Pennsylvania's Montgomery County, said the stores'
layout is conceived mainly through food safety protocols and space.
" Our design is simple, " he said. " Keeping alike products together
vs. merchandising by labels or company. Cryovac or sealed items are
placed on the higher levels and items we shrink wrap here in the store
are at lower levels for food safety. "
Items rarely move as changing the location can sometimes be
detrimental, especially with older customers.
" Usually, only small changes occur when a new product
is added or during a holiday that requires particular
attention, " Heidelmark said. " Plus, with today's
unprecedented challenges of social distancing and
limiting people in stores, it's better folks know
where to find their favorite items and move
quickly through departments, rather than stop
and search or create additional risk by forcing
them to seek assistance. "
Homeland stores offer a service-oriented urban
design in their meat departments to service their
communities, which is defined by light, bright and
a fresh feeling of colors with a new, updated d├ęcor
package.
" We offer full-service fresh meats and fresh seafood with new
value-added cuts and meal solutions, " Avey said. " It's a smaller footprint
that is easy to shop, but still offers the important categories that caters
to the community and has space for employee owners to interact and
serve the customer. "
Most retailers have started to pull away from installing large fullservice meat and seafood cases which require a ton of labor to set up,
maintain and incur a lot of shrink.
" You now see more retailers installing much smaller, and sometimes
even non-existent full-service meat and seafood cases, " Short said.
" These smaller cases will generally showcase higher-end cuts of meat
and seafood as well as a lot of pre-made or ready to cook items for
convenience. "
However, some customers still like to be able to talk to their local
butcher and get their higher-end meats from an expert, so Short doesn't
see these types of cases going completely away at any point.
" We also see a lot more of the newer retailers installing multi-deck
full-service meat cases, " Short said. " This allows them to provide a large
assortment of specialty items without having to produce and display as
much product at a time. By doing this, they can offer twice the variety
in a footprint that is half the size and additionally, lower their shrink
dollars. "
He's also seen an increase in smaller, mobile display cases around the
store and in meat departments.
" These are designed for impulse buying and to increase incremental
sales, " Short said. " They also give the retailers the option to showcase

smaller displays of promotional and sale items that can be quickly
changed out or moved and require bringing in lower amounts of
inventory. "

Light it up
Historically, not much thought went into case lighting in the meat
department. However, it was found over time that incorrect lighting
negatively impacted the eye appeal of products and faded packaging.
" Using the correct lighting not only extends the shelf life of the
product, but improves the visual appeal at the same time, " Allen said. " It
also creates the desired mood and atmosphere within the department.
Additionally, in an effort to reduce our energy use, we build new stores
and retrofit existing stores with high efficiency LED lighting. "
According to Short, more retailers have become increasingly
concerned with lowering energy costs/consumption and
reducing their carbon footprint. As a result, he's seen a
big change in style and types of cases and lights being
utilized in the department.
" Cases need to be energy efficient and low
maintenance, " he said. " This is also why we see
a shift from open-air frozen cases to standing
freezer doors in meat and seafood departments. "
Meanwhile, he noted lightning in self-service
meat cases is shifting away from either nonexistent or fluorescent lighting, to LED as these light
strips give the product in these cases a more natural
and appealing look while also reducing the amount of
heat put out and onto the product.
" The amount of heat put out from traditional lighting has a direct
effect on how long the product will look and stay fresh in a case, " Short
said. " Older lighting fixtures put out a tremendous amount of heat
which shortens the shelf life of the products as well as working against
the cases refrigeration system. "
Additionally, track and spotlighting is carefully placed to highlight or
showcase certain areas and products where retailers want to attract
attention.
" Both of these give a meat department a much more high-end look
and feel, while also reducing some of the cost of refrigeration and
replacement of bulbs in cases, " Short said. " The initial cost of LED,
track or spotlighting may be higher, but the money saved from energy
efficiency, maintenance and repairs are worth the up-front spending. "

Staples
on top

higher margin
items at eye level
high-end on
lower shelves

44 - APRIL 2021

Retailers are also spending more money on signage, POS and
marketing materials within their stores, specifically in the meat and
seafood department, calling out attributes and key selling points to the
consumers to help guide them to what they are looking for and boost
sales of specialty items.
" More focus is put on highlighting and calling out statements like
local, sustainably farmed, grass-fed, humanely raised, organic, and meal
solutions than previously seen, " Short said. " Just 10 years ago, where
this was only seen in higher-end retailers, you will now find these types
of signage, statements, POS and marketing materials in almost every
retailer. "

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