“Meatless Mondays” has grown in popularity, as health and environmental advocates urge greater awareness of the impact meat consumption has on the human body, as well as the environment. People are increasingly aware of the connection between overall health and what we eat, and as such are demanding more sustainably sourced foods from our grocery supply chains. However, all that awareness and advocacy hasn’t changed a key fact about how Americans eat — we still consume a lot of meat.
The average American eats more than 56 pounds of beef, almost 52 pounds of pork and nearly 110 pounds of poultry every year, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Our per capita total consumption of 218 pounds of meat and poultry is well above the average, according to OECD data.
Meanwhile, meat production is also increasing. Beef and veal production grew 4 percent in 2016, poultry edged up by 2 percent and pork production held steady, according to the USDA.
Clearly, Americans aren’t ready to entirely give up eating meat. However, in addition to growing demand for meat, consumers are also calling for meat that’s more environmentally friendly from farm to processing plant, and distribution center to grocery store shelves.
One response to this trend is case ready meat, which arrives at supermarkets ready to go directly in retail display refrigerated cases. Case ready meat offers grocery operations several advantages, including:
- Product spends less time in transition or being processed and packaged in grocery store meat departments.
- Less handling means reduced risk of contamination and damage.
- Improved product quality.
- Centralized prep and packaging in USDA-inspected facilities improves food safety and uniformity of product.
How RPCs in the grocery supply chain can help
As demand for meat continues to increase and more grocery operations move toward case-ready packaging of meat, preserving and protecting meat products during the replenishment phases of the supply chain are becoming even more critical. Damaged case-ready packages cannot be salvaged, and failing to provide adequate protection during shipping will cause grocery operations to see an increase in shrink.
RPCs help control shrink effectively. Tosca’s RPCs are the first reusable containers designed and built specifically for transporting case ready meat. The RPC’s durable plastic construction provides superior structural integrity. That strength protects products while reducing damage and waste.
RPCs can also help grocery stores order exactly the amount of product you need. Rather than having to order large volumes of raw product that would then be processed and packaged in-store, case ready meats can be ordered in more efficient amounts. The multiple heights of Tosca’s RPCs increase cube efficiencies and enhance your ability to right-size your product ordering.
Finally, using RPCs to transport case ready meat is in keeping with another important consumer trend — the demand for sustainability. Because they are reusable, RPCs significantly curtail packaging waste throughout every phase of the supply chain. Each RPC can be packed with 40–50 pounds of product per trip, shipped, stocked, washed and returned more than 100 times, making the equivalent of 30 cross-country journeys before the RPC gets recycled.