As grocery retailers plan to expand meat offerings in 2023, the focus will be on increased access to fresh and organic offerings. Epic Sales Partners, an independent fresh-food sales agency based in Irving, Texas, helped more than 75 retail chains and 2,000 storefronts access 300 different meat products in 2022.
Fresh meat products are a critical driver of growth for retailers, and this is why they rely so heavily on dependable suppliers and brokers.
They have increased this commitment, with a goal of helping retailers and meat suppliers provide local communities access to 600 different meat products in 2023.
In a recent survey, more than 43 percent of retailers felt that fresh meat presents the biggest challenge in 2023. This can be attributed to unpredictability with the supply chain, pricing and overall inflation. This is why Epic works with meat suppliers and manufacturers who have a strong commitment to predictability and consistent growth.
“Retail shoppers still prefer to shop for fresh meat in their local stores,” said Dave Huddle, president of Epic Sales Partners – Central. “Our retail partners rely heavily on quality meat suppliers to meet these demands and to consistently increase store traffic due to the availability of fresh meat products.”
Meat and poultry trends to watch
The meat industry expects to see a 5.5 percent increase in food sales in 2023. Inflation has also decreased for perimeter departments, which includes fresh meat. A recent study by IRI, “Impact Of Inflation On Consumer Behavior,” shows that as inflation has decreased, demand has increased. Retailers especially experienced volume growth in pork, chicken and beef during the latter half of 2022.
“Epic stays ahead of trends and works with meat suppliers across the country to supply a steady supply chain of quality products,” said Mark Wilhelm, president of Epic Sales Partners – West. “Our growth in the variety of meat products helps meet the increasing demands of retailers and consumers.”
In March, the Epic team attended the Annual Meat Conference, hosted by the North American Meat Institute and the Food Industry Association in Dallas, Texas. The event included more than 1,500 meat and poultry professionals and featured insights from across the industry.
For example, 210 Analytics presented the latest Power of Meat, a consumer report on meat usage, attitudes and trends. This 18th annual study reflects on another year of disruption, marked by inflation and supply chain challenges.
According to the report, in 2022, meat sales increased 5.7 percent versus a year ago and almost 87 percent of all home-prepared dinners featured meat/poultry. Further, 98.3 percent of retail shoppers purchase meat. These data points can help meat category leaders understand patterns in shoppers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of meat consumption, buying and preparation.
Another key theme of the 2023 AMC was sustainability. Category leaders agree there’s a new protein consumer on the horizon – a customer who is more educated than ever before and cares about the intersection of people, planet and animal. Thus, it is imperative that the meat and poultry industry nurtures these shared values throughout the supply chain.
Epic Sales Partners
Epic Sales Partners Inc. provides headquarter management, retail merchandising, data analytics, technology and administrative services for the fresh, specialty, natural and organic departments. Epic serves almost 100 retailers on behalf of more than 350 food manufacturers generating retail sales of $1 billion annually.
With more than 35 years of experience, the company has 193 associates with an average tenure of 7.2 years who are category experts that add value to retailers and manufacturers across America.
“We started working with Epic Sales Partners five years ago after several failed attempts at finding a good food sales agent,” said one senior executive at a leading meat manufacturer.
“We were struggling to get the attention of larger retailers and lacked insight into the demands of stores across multiple locations. Epic was able to immediately get our products in front of decision-makers and advise us on how to tailor our offerings across the region to meet customer demands for fresh meats.”
Epic is headquartered in Irving, Texas, with an additional nine sales offices across the U.S. Regional services are provided by the Epic East, Epic West and Epic Central offices. Epic unifies four legacy brands – Premier Sales Solutions, Maher Marketing, Frontier Food Brokerage and MPF Sales and Marketing – together under the common brand “Epic Sales Partners.” The company is commonly owned and managed.
As the largest independent food sales agency in the country, Epic looks forward to building new partnerships to further support its commitment to growth in the year ahead. To learn more, visit epicsales.com.
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 7, 2023, but has been updated and republished with new information.