February 22, 2012
WASHINGTONPrice has taken on a greater role in meat purchasing decisions, as price per pound has solidified its No.1 ranking as the most important decision factor for consumers, while total package cost is now the second most important decision factor, surpassing product appearance, according to results of the 7th Annual Power of Meat study commissioned by the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
Results of the national online poll of 1,340 consumers reveal meat and poultry dollar sales increased by 2.5%, but volume sales decreased by 5.3% as a result of inflation across proteins. Consumer focus on price and value is further underscored by the growing share of shoppers engaging in pre-trip research and planning meals around promotions. Data also found more consumers are comparing prices while in the store
Full-service supermarkets continue to be a stronghold for fresh meat and poultry, with high retention rates and a pick-up of shoppers from other channels, especially supercenters. Price-related promotions are especially effective for steering people to a certain kind of meat or poultry and slightly less effective for the amount purchased.
Private-brand meat and poultry remains popular as more consumers chose private brands because of lower prices-points. Survey results also found shoppers reduced interest in volume-based discounts, such as bulk and buy-one-get one free, as measured last year, did not rebound any this year.
Despite economic pressures, natural and organic meat and poultry experienced an uptick in the number of buyers over the past year to 24% of shoppers. Additionally, 90% of shoppers predict they will buy about the same (70%) or more (20%) next year.
According to the findings, chicken and beef making up the largest share of meat purchases. The fresh category continues to be much larger than the heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat categories, but the latter shows signs of strength for the convenience-oriented shopper. Marinated meat and poultry also is gaining ground, with an increasing share of shoppers preparing their own mixes or purchasing marinades or spice mixes along with the meat/poultry.
When it comes to meat, consumers also are interested in innovative packaging options, such as leak-proof packaging and concepts to reduce food waste. However, the survey found consumers only prefer environmentally-friendly packaging if there is no price premium charged.
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