Last updated on August 16th, 2012 at 12:06 pm
Midan Marketing has released the first report in “The Consumers’ Case,” the marketer’s ongoing effort to help the meat industry keep its pulse on the ever-changing consumer and meet their needs.
From Midan Marketing’s webinar on March 20, seven trends emerged, with corresponding implications for grocers.
Non-Existent “Average” Consumer
In today’s changing world, there is no such thing as an “average” or “typical” consumer. With more single parents, same-sex couples, single households and divorced families, the white-picket-fence family with 2.1 children is not as relevant as it once was.
• Understand your customers beyond their basic demographics. Dig into attitudes and behaviors. Adjust educational programs based on new consumer insights. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work.
• Marketing partnerships are keys to success. Retailers and suppliers must work together to know their customers and find products that meet their needs.
• Empower store meat department employees to build relationships with customers in order to better understand their individual needs and be more responsive.
As women have more of a presence in the workforce, there are more men sharing household responsibilities within their families, including meal planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation. Today’s generation of dads also long for a more active role in their households and many of yesterday’s breadwinners are today’s chief household officers.
• Help men feel competent while shopping for meat by providing easy meal solutions and cross-promote items that go with meat.
• Move him past the grill. Help him be confident with other cooking methods by showing him easy recipes for oven roasts or crock-pot cooking.
• Help error-proof his meals by offering whole meal solutions, including sides and even dessert.
• Engage him in-store. Men have a tendency to spend more time in the store than women; take the opportunity to talk to your male shoppers and build a relationship with them.
• Don’t walk away from your female customers. They are still very much the majority of your shoppers and in many cases are still highly involved.
Health Bottom Line
During the recession, the loss of health insurance caused as much strain as the loss of income, and many Americans learned the true cost of being sick. Today, there’s a monetary influence that is a new driver of healthy eating. Consumers are proactively managing their health by shifting from what they should do to what they must do to avoid the financial liability of healthcare in the future.
• Embrace health as an opportunity platform. Be proactive about sharing the nutritional benefits of fresh meat products with your customers.
• Fresh meat should own protein, not Greek yogurt. Remind consumers that meat is the No. 1 natural source of protein and an excellent natural source for many other important nutrients.
• Offer cart evaluation or accountability apps. Consumers enjoy fun ways to help them reach their health goals.
• Develop an appropriate meat nutrition rating system. There are many programs available but they don’t translate well for fresh meat.
• Help consumers make healthier decisions by putting the cost of healthier foods into context.
Many consumers are active in recycling, but they can only do so much. As a result, they are looking to companies to take on some of the responsibility by decreasing the amount of excessive packaging they use, switching to more eco-friendly packaging and offering less gluttonous amounts in a package.
• Develop programs that help customers bring back waste and recycle.
• If using butcher paper in the full-service case, tout its eco-friendliness.
• Push to be zero-waste through innovations in meat case lighting, cooling and packaging materials.
• Be mindful of over-packaging.
• Focus on portable-friendly packaging. More leak-proof packaging can help consumers use reusable or less bags.
Instant Info Osmosis
Today’s shoppers are able to find anything they want, anywhere. However, that is not enough. Consumers are now faced with a tech-induced attention deficit disorder that has left them impatient. They not only want information instantly, but they want to be able to understand what they are looking at in a matter of seconds.
• Consumers are increasingly using their phones in-store. Make it easy for consumers to hop channels by making sure their online and mobile experiences compliment the in-store experience.
• Get on board with the latest technology. Augmented reality and RFID technology will be here before you know it.
• Simplify their shopping experience with color and icons. Make it as easy and quick to navigate the meat case as it is in the center of the store.
Security Through Disclosure
With consumers’ ongoing distrust of government, institutions and big business, they continue to question what is in the food they eat and where it comes from. Consumers don’t necessarily need a long explanation. They are just looking for simple reassurance that the companies they buy from care and are willing to reveal a little of what’s behind the curtain.
• Be proactively transparent. As the meat industry continues to be closely scrutinized, clear communication and transparency will foster loyalty.
• Step up and have a credible voice. Embrace the opportunity to educate consumers on the quality and safety of meat products. Speak to them in a language they can understand.
• Traceability is an important issue for many consumers and inevitable for the meat industry.
During the economic recession, consumers put a halt on their spending and started paying down debt and saving their dollars. Yet, they longed for the satisfaction they used to feel from impulse purchases of the past. After a few years of fiscal responsibility, consumers are ready to resume spending, albeit slowly, in order to regain some feeling of gratification.
• Putting price into context will help consumers feel like they are saving even when they are spending.
• Offer special deals though various social media and deal sites based on fandom or “checking in.” Consumers appreciate exclusive deals.
• Reward customers through loyalty programs or offer layaway payment plans for large purchases like other retail formats do.
• Don’t be driven by price. Show them the value in their purchase.