Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021 - rmt - 4

Retail trends

Breakfast
meats

Marinades

Packaged
deli meat

Consistant
portioning

ECOMMERCE EXPLOSION
Of course, the ultimate way to reduce the amount
of time spent in the store is not to go to the store at
all. Look for the " explosive " growth in use of Instacart,
Butcher Box, home delivery, click and collect and other
digital avenues to continue apace in 2021, Oliviero said.
For specialty producers, online has many benefits,
he said.
" Digital provides a great opportunity for folks offering curated sets of high-attribute sets of product, that
you can't get when you're looking at a product in a
store, " he said. " Online gets a lot more information
more quickly, and if you're a premium brand, it's
much easier to tell your story in a digital format. "
Alicia Laporte, Niman Ranch's communications
director, added that, during the pandemic, customers
have been much more comfortable using QR codes.
" We're incorporating them a lot amore, on packs, on
the glass on cases, " she said. " It's so quantifiable - who
scanned, when, we can probably retarget them, collect
their email, etc. "
Retailers who aren't having the conversation with
their meat supplier partners about how to connect with
consumers digitally to drive sales are " missing something big, " Oliviero added. Meat has come a huge
distance in online sales.
" Net weight items in particular, " Oliviero said.
" People are just as comfortable buying a package of
bacon as they are toilet paper. "
In the COVID era, people have spent a lot more
time thinking about better meats and better ingredients. The results are in - 2020 was the first year NA
pork saw a sales increase (13%), which to Oliviero means
that people are paying more attention to brands and
claims they can understand.
" Having learned a lot about the food system over the
course of the spring, they're more interested, " he said.
" We have home-schooled, armchair nutritionists who
are very open to trying new things if you provide
health benefits or anything else that eliminate risks
from a health standpoint. "
When the pandemic has finally wound down, the
flood of people taking off their aprons and going out
for meals will have a profound effect on the retail grocery world, and categories like fresh meat, which had
weekly sales increases of up to 30% during COVID, will
really feel the change, Oliviero said.
" Q2 will be very difficult for retail to be able to
match, " he said. " There will be a huge appetite for

somebody else to do the cooking. Innovation will be
important. "
Those innovations could include things like new flavors, new cuts of meat and products that cater to certain diets. According to some surveys, as many as 73%
of consumers have said they gained weight during the
pandemic.
RETAIL " RECKONING "
" There's a reckoning that's coming, " Oliviero said.
" People may continue with comfort foods through winter, but then they reach a point where they have to do
something. "
Keto-friendly and no-sugar are among the many ways
that Niman and other meat producers can position
themselves for success in this particular post-COVID
scenario.
Despite people's pent-up desire to eat out again,
Oliviero expects another phenomenon to also occur.
" People will really want to entertain again, show off
that new air fryer, knife set, new recipes they've tried
out in quarantine. "
Another " new normal " behavior that Oliviero expects
to see is higher demand for prepackaged meat - not just
in deli meats but throughout the fresh meat category.
" Products that consumers used to count on buying
from a full-service counter they're now more comfortable buying pre-packaged. "
If they're going to freeze product, buying something
with a vacuum seal already on it takes one step out of
the process for them, just one example of the advantages of case-ready, Oliviero said.
Case-ready pork and beef is still just a small fraction of the overall market, so there's plenty of room for
growth, he said.
" Consumer acceptance of it has been dramatic, "
he said. " Food safety and convenience are driving it.
Consumers are not going back to stores wanting to
touch everything, spend a lot of time in there, like they
were before. "
There's also more consistency in sizing of product
with pre-packed vs. meat cut in-store, he said. With
many fresh meat items - pork chops and cut steaks, to
name two - there is a challenge to be more consistent
in unit size, number of pieces and weight, Oliviero said.
" You might buy a couple of packs of pork chops, and
one has two chops in it, another has three, " he said.
Especially when ordering online, that can lead to an
unexpected surprise, and is another reason to increase
the amount of precision in prepacked products.
" Portioning has been big in foodservice for many
years now, and I think we're seeing that same expectation now for click and collect. "

SUNNYS, PAVEL SIAMIONOV, MACONDOS, ANINNA - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

particularly pronounced, Oliviero said. Sales during the
pandemic were often up 40% over the same time as the
year before.

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