Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021 - rmt - 22

Marketing

hen compared to other center of store categories, the
meat department has historically been underserved
in terms of insights that help inform better merchandising,
promotions and pricing decisions.
The meat industry's laser focus on a high service level
with delivery of product to shelf, while critically important,
results in uncertainty in how to simultaneously anticipate
the modern consumer in a way that's proactive and progressive. Case in point: the industry's largely reactive response to
the explosion of plant-based and meat-alternative products.
What followed were the kind of merchandising decisions that
may have led to lower meat department sales overall, like
shelf space being over-allocated to this small niche segment.
Throughout the grocery store, from salty snacks to household products, brands are going a lot further for their retail
customers than filling supply with a more holistic service
value philosophy. In the yogurt case, brands like Dannon and
Yoplait fight to be " category captain " with teams dedicated
to delivering key category management insights. This CPG
mindset hasn't taken hold in the meat department, in part
because the majority of meat is sold as unbranded commodity. Anyone looking to grow their business would benefit from adopting it though, and the meat industry has a
great opportunity to bring more to the table like category
and consumer insights, educational materials, and marketing
support to help retailers grow their meat department sales. 
This is particularly true for small and niche providers.
Despite organic and grass-fed beef sales being more than
$1 billion per year in grocery and foodservice (and growing
year over year), it still makes up a single-digit percentage of
overall meat sales. Accordingly, store category managers are
devoting a comparable amount of their time and attention-
and even less in times of supply chain upheaval like in the
last year.
At Verde, checking the grass-fed and organic boxes and
filling supply is crucial, but not enough. We've come to understand that being a true value partner to customers means
offering services from data analysis and consumer insights
to promotional support. As we've grown as a company, we've
added resources with a CPG-minded intent of helping customers grow. At BJs, for example, we've helped right-size
store assortment by sharing store by store-level analysis to
reduce shrink, remedy out-of-stocks, and increase organic
grass-fed beef sales year over year. 
Premium meat providers tend to have a pulse on consumer
motivations and prominent modern profiles like the " flexitarian. " It's important those insights are relayed through
valuable service offerings to help retailers earn their share of
wallet. Most Americans enjoy meat and believe it's part of a
healthy diet, but we as providers can do more to help retailers capture the attention and loyalty of consumers, particularly when it comes to conscientious carnivores.
Dana Ehrlich is CEO and founder of Verde Farms.

Dana Ehrlich and Verde
Farms believe the retail
meat category could benefit
from new approaches to
merchandising.

Service
value vs.
service
level
Adopting a CPG mindset
to grow meat department sales
by Dana Ehrlich

22

retail MEAT TRENDS

Meat_SP_0321.indb 22

VERDE FARMS

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