Traditional Favorites in the Meat Case

Sales of products like buffalo and game hens may be driven by a shopper's search for variety or for healthier, leaner meats. However, many other items including Hispanic favorites ranging from goat to oxtail, short ribs, beef tongue and tripe are becoming more popular due to their role in traditional ethnic dishes. In many cases, the proliferation of less common or unusual cuts in the meat case of

Sales of products like buffalo and game hens may be driven by a shopper's search for variety or for healthier, leaner meats. However, many other items — including Hispanic favorites ranging from goat to oxtail, short ribs, beef tongue and tripe — are becoming more popular due to their role in traditional ethnic dishes.

“In many cases, the proliferation of less common or unusual cuts in the meat case of mainstream supermarkets is based on the growth of a particular ethnic group that is now shopping that store,” said Jim Henger, director of channel marketing for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

To make sure opportunities aren't lost in translation, The Beef Checkoff Program recently developed a Hispanic Toolkit, including a bilingual dictionary of Hispanic beef cuts, designed to help retailers provide beef cuts and information to their Latino consumers. In a recent pilot test, the toolkit increased sales by 27% for thin beef cuts preferred by Hispanics compared to similar stores, Henger said.

Similarly, Cargill, Wichita, Kan., has created Rumba, a case-ready line of specialty cuts geared toward traditional Hispanic cuisine.

“The availability and variety of meats carried under the Rumba brand increases each year. The business has grown fast and at a steady rate,” said Carmen Kelling, Rumba brand manager, adding that sales of the brand have increased about 30% year-over-year for the past four years.

While certain cuts and types of meats, such as oxtail, are geared specifically toward Hispanic consumers, retailers have the opportunity to market to all.

“Because we have such an ethnic clientele, [Jungle Jim's] has a full selection of all those items,” said Scott Severs, meat manager for Jungle Jim's, Fairfield, Ohio.

“We have a ton of oxtail, we do sell goat meat here, we have thin meats. We try to cater to everybody, because everybody buys it, not just the Hispanic customer.”