- Demographics of consumers play a large role in buying decisions in the meat department, Meagan Nelson, associate director of fresh growth and strategy at Nielsen, said in a webinar, according to Food Business News.
- Called “Decisions, Decisions: How Do Consumers Shop Meat,” the webinar cited research showing a decline in shopping trips and decreases in money spent on meat and poultry products.
- Research also outlined that consumers are transitioning away from traditional supermarkets — which have seen 1.9% growth — in favor of convenience stores — with 3.8% growth — and e-commerce — 12.2% growth — when making shopping decisions.
Meat prices are dropping, but shoppers — especially millennials — aren’t buying as much as they did in years past. Still, according to an industry report from the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group released in late 2016, U.S. per capita meat consumption increased by almost 5% in 2015, the largest increase in 40 years. Numbers have yet to be released for 2016.
Though this report appears to conflict with the recently released Nielsen data, the fact remains that younger shoppers aren't buying as much meat. According to a survey by Midan Marketing, 22% of millennials had eaten less meat in 2016 than the year before. This could be the result of health concerns stemming from studies that claim too much red meat is linked to heart disease or even cancer. It also reflects growing consumer preference for plant-based proteins and successful innovation in this category.
However, retailers still have an opportunity to educate millennials on their meat offerings and their nutrition benefits. Information about health benefits of meat — as well as explanations of different animal welfare-related labels like "grass-fed" and "antibiotic-free" — could encourage shoppers to choose meat. Using digital apps to deliver information and recipes — or just explanations of the array of cuts and how to cook them — could also take away young shoppers' potential anxiety in buying products that they're not sure how to prepare.