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Alternative channels dent supermarket meat sales

Alternative channels dent supermarket meat sales

Farmers’ markets, dollar stores, farm direct and online all grew year-over-year as outlets for occasional meat purchases, according to the 2016 Power of Meat report.

While these alternative channels represent only a small percentage of total meat purchases, supermarkets have cause to worry.

“We have to keep in mind as retailers that meat is crucial to driving traffic and driving loyalty. So if we’re starting to lose a few of these occasional trips to some of these alternative channels, that does not only affect our meat department, it affects the entire financial success of the store,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, principal, 210 Analytics, and author of the report.

Roerink presented findings from the latest Power of Meat report at the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in February.

Although only 4% of all consumers said they had purchased meat online in the past three months, that percentage was 9% for Millennials and 13% for higher income shoppers — two important groups for the department.

Meat is also a growing category for online outlets. According to e-commerce solutions provider MyWebGrocer, online meat sales increased 16% from 2014 to 2015, and half of online grocery baskets contain meat.

And those baskets are worth a lot. The average value of an online basket that contains meat is $175, which is 11% more than the overall average.

“These are definitely stock-up trips that consumers are making about once every two weeks,” Michelle Cote, VP, research, MyWebGrocer, said during a video segment at the Power of Meat presentation. On average, online shoppers buy 2.3 units of meat per purchase.

Though digital sales from the butcher shop are growing, 85% of meat purchased online is packaged. That makes sense, Roerink said, given that the main method shoppers use to determine freshness for meat is the sell by or use by date, making it easy to let someone else pick a “fresh” package of meat.

MyWebGrocer found the top-selling meat products online are similar to those in a brick-and-mortar store; they include boneless chicken breasts, organic ground beef, ground turkey, bacon and sausage.

210 Analytics prepared the Power of Meat on behalf of FMI and the North American Meat Institute. The study was sponsored by Sealed Air.

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