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Ignore Price in Favor of Marketing the Meat Department: NGA Speaker

LAS VEGAS — Supermarkets can't control the price of meat but they can control how they market the department, according to an executive of the National Cattleman's Beef Association.

Trevor Amen
Trevor Amen

"You can build a program around cost savings or the fact you cut the meat yourself or the quality of what you sell or selling larger package sizes or smaller packages with a lower price per unit," Trevor Amen, director of market intelligence, B2B marketing for the association, told a breakfast session Tuesday at the National Grocers Association Show here.

"You've got to base your program on the buying behaviors of the consumers you serve — understanding their needs and preferences — to determine how you market the meat case."

Bob Buonomano, president of Windham IGA, a single-store operator in Willimantic, Conn., said it isn't important what quality of meat a store sells, as long as it meets the needs of its customers.  "When a customer leaves the store happy with the product because it meets her needs, that's quality.  You don't have to carry Angus beef to offer quality.  You just need to put out a good product that meets the consumer's needs."

Read more: Retailers Urged to Make Social Media Plans

Bob Buonomano (left) and Steve Hermann
Bob Buonomano (left) and Steve Hermann

Buonomano also advised retailers to buy product for its consistency.  "You don't help yourself when you buy product that is inconsistent just to save a few pennies," he said.  "Buy what gives you the best yield and the lowest shrink rather than what has the lowest price points.  You may be able to sell at a lower price, but it does you no good in the long run."

Steve Hermann, vice president of Paul's Supermarket, a three-store operator based in Lake Ozark, Mo., said how a retailer promotes the meat department is important.  "If you are grinding your own beef, don't say you have 'fresh' beef — say you have 'the freshest.' That's something the corporate guys cannot say."

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