Midan Marketing’s Deep-Dive Breaks Meat Consumers Into Six Segments

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Midan Marketing was looking for depth when it took on understanding today’s meat consumer. To do that, it conducted a deep-dive survey of 2,200 consumers that was designed to flesh out consumer beliefs and behaviors around meat. Danette Amstein and Michael Uetz, both principals at Midan Marketing, shared findings with attendees at the Annual Meat Conference (AMC) in Dallas recently in their “Meat Consumer Segmentation” presentation. They also teased that there will be more to come from the survey.

The respondents, who were at least 18 years old and had eaten meat at home in the previous three months, were divided into six segments based on their answers. They were asked a host of consumption questions: how many types of protein they consumed, whether their habits had changed in the past year, how and how often they bought meat, who they eat meat with, who prepares the meat and more. They were asked about pre-shopping habits, whether they prepare a shopping list, talk to friends or research online. They also were asked how they feel about life, if they were happy, liked their job and what they knew about agriculture as well as more standard questions—age, gender, income and ethnicity—to fill out their demographic profiles. Respondents also shared their attitudes about meat, which were displayed in a word cloud.

What follows are brief descriptions of each of the six segments Amstein and Uetz talked about in their presentation, some basic demographic information about each one and tactics for bringing more of these consumers into the fold.

Voracious Carnivores

This group made up 14 percent of the general population (and, just for fun, a whopping 43 percent of Annual Meat Conference attendees who elected to take the survey). They eat more different types of protein (6.3) than the other five segments.

“These guys, they like their meat. They eat it on a regular basis, and if there’s a meal without meat, it’s not a meal,” said Amstein. “It’s called a snack.”

Danette Amstein (Photo courtesy of FMI)
Danette Amstein (Photo courtesy of FMI)

There was more good news for AMC attendees about this segment, as 27 percent of them said they increased their meat consumption over the past year.

But this group doesn’t shop a lot.

“Your opportunity to interact with them in the store isn’t great,” she said. “What that tells us about them is that they eat a lot of meat, they buy it in bulk, they put it in the freezer.”

More than half (58 percent) of this group makes a shopping list, 46 percent look for coupons or promotions and 22 percent go online to learn about products and prices, while 26 percent know exactly what they want and just go buy it.

When it comes to their attitudes, most said that “meat tastes good” and their entire family enjoys meat.

“We firmly have these folks in our camp,” Amstein said.

Demographics and tactics

Gender: Fairly evenly split male/female.

Average age: 53 years old; 63 percent were Baby Boomers and seniors.

Annual income: $74,000; 17 percent reported an annual income of less than $25,000.

Household size: 2.7; more than half are from one- or two-person households; only 30 percent had children at home.

Ethnicity: 77 percent Caucasian (the highest among the six segments); 13 percent Hispanic (lowest among segments).

Region: Midwest; one-third said they live in small town or rural America vs. urban or suburban areas.

Recommended marketing tactic: maintain and defend.

“We need to make sure we don’t lose these folks,” Uetz said. “They’re looking for things like taste, nutrition and enjoyment. They can be influenced by both in-store as well as pre-store shopping, so we need to be in both locations. They consume a lot of different proteins. They want a lot of variety.”

Wavering Budgeteers

This segment comprised 13 percent of respondents. They eat a variety of meats (6.1) but are more selective in the types of proteins they purchase. They spend less time in the store, so they also buy in bulk. They shop the weekly circular and will go to another store in an effort to stretch their food dollars. Twenty-six percent said they had increased their meat consumption in the past year.

“They believe meat has to be part of the meal, so they’re finding ways to get it in there; maybe not exactly what they’re wanting, but they’re putting meat in the cart on every trip,” Amstein said.

More people in this segment (44 percent) than in the other five want to see information inside the store.

“If we’re providing that on-package, we can move them from one product to another,” Amstein said.

One of the phrases that stood out in this group’s attitude word cloud was “sustainable -agriculture.” While they are looking for a better deal and believe coupons are important, this group believes meat should come from farms that practice sustainable agriculture.

“Not only are they budgeteers and watching those dollars, they’re wavering because they want to participate in the causes that they believe are important,” Amstein said. “They have this foundational belief, but their budget is often holding them back. You can move them to try (something new) if the price is right.”

Demographics and tactics

Gender: There were more females in this group than in the other segments.

Average age: 53 years old; 65 percent were Boomers and seniors.

Annual income: $61,000.

Ethnicity: 65 percent Caucasian; 21 percent black; 11 percent Asian (largest among the segments).

Region: Primarily reside in suburbs.

Recommended marketing tactic: maintain and defend.

“Tactically, we look at the fact that it’s still going to be all about price with them,” Amstein said. “Two-thirds of the choices are being made before they go shopping and we’ve got to pay attention to that and meet them outside of the store with information that can reach them, but also provide information in-store on-package to help sway or change the decision that she may be willing to make.”

Premium Players

This segment was 13 percent of the population (and 31 percent of attendees). They also eat a variety of proteins (6). More members of this group talk to friends about food or look to the Food Network and similar outlets for ideas. Far more people in this group go online to look for information about products than those in the other five segments. Only 30 percent know what they will get when they arrive at the store.

“They’re still price sensitive and neutral in promotions, but overall, this group is really more about convenience and flavor than about price,” Amstein said. “They’re very much into ethnic flavor and meals. They don’t have any issue with frozen meat vs. fresh meat. Healthy eating is important to them. They’re very much into low fat and they compare sodium, those kinds of things.”

They also find non-meat proteins acceptable.

“We want to fix that,” Amstein said. “If they’re in the store and they trust that you can provide the products that they want, they are not going to a variety of stores. They only have time to go to one.”

Amstein and Uetz said this group was definable more for what they said they don’t do. Attitudinally, they don’t want to buy family packs, don’t consider meat too expensive, don’t shop different stores and don’t drive farther to find cheaper prices.

Demographics and tactics

Average age: 49 years old.

Annual income: $87,000.

Household size: 2.9; 40 percent have kids at home.

Ethnicity: 70 percent Caucasian; no outliers with other ethnic groups.

Region: about 81 percent live in urban America or in the suburbs.

Recommended marketing tactic: cultivate with innovation.

Michael Uetz (Photo courtesy of FMI)
Michael Uetz (Photo courtesy of FMI)

“Make sure that they can get in and out and we can help save them time, because 40 percent of them do have kids, and they’re cooking for a family,” Uetz said. “The whole value-added, prepared platform that we’ve been working at for a long time to try to get our consumer base to adopt—this is the customer who’s been buying the product, because, again, price isn’t an issue. They can be traded up. The health message can also be more attractive in bringing them to our product and helping them understand what we bring from a nutritional perspective.”

Aging Idealists

This group makes up 13 percent of the population. They eat fewer varieties of meat (5.6) and are a little more picky about what they eat. They shop more often and spend more time looking for options that meet their needs.

“They’re certainly looking for some prices and promotions, but 27 percent of them say, ‘I’ll figure it out when I’m in the store,’” Amstein said. “We can move them based on price and promotion. They’re looking for information and spending a little bit more time using the cellphone to help them answer questions.”

The attitude word cloud showed why they are regarded as idealists. They want local food, humanely-raised animals and no additives. This was the only group looking for Non-GMO Project Verified products. But they still want something easy to prepare.

Demographics and tactics

Average age: 51 years old; 30 percent Boomers and seniors living active lifestyles.

Annual income: $76,000.

Household size: 2.8; 40 percent have children at home.

Ethnicity: 71 percent Caucasian; 23 percent black (highest among the six segments).

Region: Most evenly split between urban and suburban areas, but 14 percent said they live in a rural environment.

Recommended tactic: Meet their needs; sell them more.

“We’re not always meeting them where they are in their thinking about the types of meat they want to eat, who they want to support,” Amstein said. “If you can talk about highlighting free-from claims while being transparent, we can get them to buy more of our product. If you’re not going to be transparent with them, don’t bother, because they are idealists and they cannot be swayed from that.”

They also want a variety of package sizes and products that meet their nutritional needs.

Selective Foodies

This group makes up 12 percent of the population. Nothing makes them stand out as far as the varieties of meat they eat or how they consume meat. What does stand out is that 56 percent are looking for promotions and opportunities on price before they shop. They can be swayed by price and promotion. They want to trust a brand. Once they do, they will stick with it.

“They are going to look at the information that’s on-package. They’re on an adventure. They want to be able to try something, and they want to know that they can do it at a price point. But if they don’t like it, it will be OK,” Amstein said. “Foodies are always looking for the next great thing to try and to talk about, so we’ve got to ensure that we are over-communicating with this group.”

As far as their attitudes, they believe home-cooked is better than takeout. They choose quality over price, like the Premium Players, but aren’t necessarily looking for the same things. USDA certification is fine. They like cultural trends in food, so flavor is important to them.

Demographics and tactics

Annual income: $88,000.

Household size: 2.8; 70 percent are married and 40 percent have kids at home.

Ethnicity: 72 percent Caucasian; a quarter Hispanic.

Region: 42 percent live in the South; about 80 percent live in the suburbs or urban environments.

Recommended tactic: Meet their needs; sell them more.

“They’re looking for information,” Amstein said. “They want new ideas. They want to try new things. Give them recipes. They seem to be very interested in those.”

Urban Eclectics

This was by far the largest group—33 percent of the population. Forty percent are Millennials. They consume the lowest number of varieties of meat (5.5). Amstein said that is because “they don’t know how to cook.

“We still have a big hurdle, because as they get older and they have kids and they’ve got jobs, it’s really hard to help them get comfortable with more types of meat,” she said.

Thirty-seven percent said they ate more meat in the previous year. Twenty-four percent shop for meat once a week or more—a number significantly higher than the other segments. This group, more than any of the others, takes time for pre-shopping activities, such as looking online for information. This group interacts with smartphones more than the other segments. Amstein said the key is to engage them digitally in a community, and that means much more than a website.

“They want to be engaged with you and your product,” Amstein said. “They want to trust you.”

Inside the store, 69 percent can be swayed with price and promotions; 41 percent are looking at packages and for information.

As for their attitudes, they’re brand loyal, on a strict budget, want simple meals and have a desire for free samples.

“They want to make sure they like how it tastes before they buy it,” Amstein said.

Demographics and tactics

Annual income: $92,000; the highest of all the segments.

Average age: 40, the lowest of the segments.

Household size: 3.4; half of this group said they have four or more people in their family; 69 percent have kids at home. Uetz said that’s where the frugality comes in.

Ethnicity: Largely Caucasian and Hispanic.

Region: West; 62 percent live in urban America.

Recommended tactic: Cultivate with innovation.

“We’ve got to focus on meeting them where they’re at. We can’t pull them to where we are,” Amstein said. “There is a variety of tactics we can use to do that, the first tactic being focused on providing options to feed many. They’ve got kids at home and they like to eat in groups. Before they had kids, they often ate out in groups at restaurants. That’s continuing in their home. They’re always having people over, so they’ve got to stretch that food dollar to feed not only family but also the friends that show up to eat with them.

“You have to be smart in how to talk to them online and you have to be smartphone friendly,” she said. “If you’re only focused on a website, you’re not going far enough to truly meet their needs and to show them how your products work in their lives.”

This group was so large that Midan Marketing divided it into three sub-segments:

Upward Eclectics—16 percent of Urban Eclectics; male dominated; 77 percent are married; starved for time; extremely brand loyal. Reach this group with convenience.

Earthbound Eclectics—Skews male; 68 percent are married; most have kids at home; prefer a natural and healthy lifestyle. Reach this group with meals that are easy to prepare, because they are feeding a lot of people.

Hesitant Eclectics—5 percent; skews heavily female; most married; lower income than main group (about $82,000); primarily eat chicken. They still eat meat, but say it is becoming less socially acceptable. Nutritional value is important to them as they feed their families. Emphasize the health aspect of meat for this group.

For more information about Midan Marketing’s consumer segmentation research, visit segmeatation.com.

About The Author

A former newspaper editor and publisher who has handled digital duties for The Shelby Report since 2011. She once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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