Summertime, and the grilling is easy


As Memorial Day kicks off the start of summer, many of us are getting our decks, patios and porches in shape for that quintessential American tradition — grilling and barbecuing delicious, savory meats.

For meat enthusiasts, there’s nothing quite so mouthwatering as a tender steak, pork chop or brat seasoned and grilled to aromatic, smoky perfection in the fresh open air.

Given the popularity of such foods, it’s little wonder meat sales skyrocket as outdoor temperatures rise. In a recent National Hog Farmer article, for example, National Pork Board exec Patrick Fleming noted that 40 percent of U.S. pork rib sales and 32 percent of U.S. pork chop sales at retail take place over the summer. And U.S. consumers will pay a premium — 12 cents more for chops and $1.10 more for ribs — when buying them during grilling season. Further, the average U.S. shopping basket is worth three to four times more ($121 compared to $32) when it includes those items.

“There’s a substantial benefit to the retailer because it’s hard to eat ribs all by themselves,” Fleming notes. “They need all the supporting items — the side dishes, the sauce, the rubs. It’s an event food, a social food, so the cart gets bigger.”

Similar buying patterns are expected to apply to beef, poultry and other meats this season. If you’re a grocer seeking to take advantage, you’ll want to ensure you’re making the most of these tactics.

Increase Your Summer Meat Sales

  • Offering a variety of high-quality meats to tempt consumers shopping for cookouts and picnics. Bloomberg notes many Americans are adding a broader range of meats to their diets as they shun carbohydrates in favor of protein. Overall, U.S. meat sales are expected to grow 5 percent between 2017 and 2022 to reach $100 billion.
  • Keeping display cases clean, attractive and well-stocked with appealing-looking meat varieties at all times. This year’s “Power of Meat” study released by the Food Marketing Institute shows convenience to be a huge factor in consumer meat selections. “Further growth in value-added meat can be achieved by addressing the price differential, expanding assortment and providing more information on the preparation and quality,” notes the report. It also determined 42 percent of consumers would branch out in the variety of meat they buy if they were provided more information.
  • Suggesting ways to grill various meats, perhaps merchandising them with an assortment of complementary sauces and seasonings.
  • Recommending side dishes to serve with grilled meats which helps shoppers create a delicious meal and builds add-on sales. “Frequent buyers also value all-items-for-dinner merchandising stations and having a wider selection of fully cooked meat,” reports the “Power of Meat” study.
  • Ensuring your meat deliveries arrive fresh and not damaged by using RPCs (reusable plastic containers) instead of corrugated boxes for shipments. The heavy-duty reusable containers can efficiently and effectively move product through your supply chain while maximizing freshness and minimizing shrink.
  • Messaging the value of meat and offering collateral to customers regarding the health and dietary benefits of eating meat. Because many myths prevail on that topic, it’s important to keep consumers informed as to the benefits of high-protein diets containing various meats.
  • Running promotions on key meats for grilling. The Power of Meat reveals through a survey that many consumers would respond well to more sales and specials on meat other than poultry.

To learn more about how reusables create more efficient supply chains, click here.

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