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Transparency, Convenience, Wellness among Megatrends Driving the Power of Meat at Retail

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education, the foundation for the North American Meat Institute, released their 13th annual exploration into the meat planning, shopping and consumption habits of consumers. “The Power of Meat 2018” identifies megatrends influencing meat purchases, including transparency; convenience; value; personalization; customer service; and health and wellness.

Shoppers Desire Resources that Educate about Meat/Poultry

“More than 50 percent of shoppers say they have limited knowledge of meat and poultry, and the research demonstrates that shoppers who are more knowledgeable about meat tend to purchase an extensive variety of meats and cook with meat more often,” FMI Vice President of Fresh Foods Rick Stein, said. “The research makes me enthusiastic for the teaching opportunities the entire industry can embrace to forge better relationships with shoppers, offering resources for meat and poultry preparation methods.”

Shoppers Finding Nutrition Information; Seeking Transparency

While preparation knowledge can be lacking, consumers are finding the health and nutrition information on meat and poultry choices that they seek as 79 percent of shoppers feel there is sufficient information available to make educated decisions on the nutrition and healthfulness of various meat and poultry cuts. This is up from 69 percent in 2016 — the last time the “Power of Meat” tracked this question.

Nutrition is a key focus area for consumers, as seven in 10 shoppers are interested in a variety of package sizes for portion control as well as dietary callouts/information on pack, led by protein content, total fat and sodium. The research also shows that transparency is driving purchases as consumers seek products with more information pertaining to corporate and social responsibility practices among companies.

“Meat and poultry companies have responded to the demand for more information about their products, offering a range of options including natural, organic, hormone free and antibiotic free, which have proven popular with consumers,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “The industry has also developed numerous resources to help educate consumers about how our products are made from our Glass Walls videos to Meat MythCrushers to the MyMeatUp app developed to help shoppers navigate the meat department.”

Shoppers Explore Convenience for the Meat/Poultry Purchase

This year, one of the most notable trends in channel choice suggested shoppers are more comfortable with the idea of purchasing meat online – with the share of shoppers who have bought meat online at least once up from four percent in 2015 to 19 percent in 2018. Other considerations are the increased pull from conventional supermarkets by both the premier fresh and value grocers.

Embodying the desire for convenience and opportunities in omnichannel and assortment, more shoppers are frequently purchasing value-added meat/poultry, increasing from nine percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2018.

The Power of Meat was conducted by 210 Analytics and is made possible by Sealed Air’s Food Care Division.

Kroger Opens Culinary Innovation Center

Kroger has opened its Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Kroger’s new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center,” said Daniel Hammer, Kroger’s Vice President of Culinary Development and New Business. “As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep + Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates’ culinary knowledge.”

Kroger commenced construction on the 12,000-square-foot, LEED-designed center in March 2017. The commercial kitchen features multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, including technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.

Kroger introduced its first restaurant concept Kitchen 1883 in November 2017 and launched its Prep+Pared Meal Kits earlier in the same year, which are available for purchase in stores and through ClickList. Kroger has plans to rapidly grow the footprint of Prep+Pared Meal Kits in 2018.

“Kroger has operated grocery stores since 1883; we know food. People will always eat, but the way they eat will always change. Our new Center is one more tool we have to keep our pulse on customer trends and expand our foodie culture,” said Hammer.

Meijer Offers New Meal Inspirations

Meijer’s new Meal Inspirations draw on the culinary skill of creating a classic mirepoix, defined as a flavorful mixture of diced vegetables and seasonings. Plus, Meal Inspiration kits are designed to inspire at-home chefs to create their own unique recipes.

Each of the four new Meal Inspiration kits offers three recipes included on the peel-away label. The recipes call for minimal additional ingredients and each recipe is ready in under 40 minutes with no chopping of vegetables.

  • Southwest Blend – This is a blend of black beans, chick peas, sweet corn, diced tomatoes, peppers and onions. This is a great base for any Southwestern or Mexican-inspired dish.
  • Asparagus & Mushroom – Asparagus’ bright vegetal taste complements the earthiness of mushrooms. Together they create a powerful umami flavor combination.
  • Ham & Vegetable – If you’re craving something a little heartier like potatoes au gratin, this flavorful diced mix of ham, onions and green, yellow and red peppers will add a savory punch.
  • Rosemary Vegetable – This combination of rosemary sprigs, diced carrots, celery and onions makes a great flavor base for an oven-roasted meal, such as a beef roast or braised chicken.

Meijer also introduced four new vegetable kits called “Roasters” that are perfect for roasting. Each kit has cooking instructions and all ingredients are included to prepare. The customer simply needs to add olive oil and roast.

  • Young Potatoes with Scallions & Mushrooms
  • Chimichurri Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower
  • Herb Roasted New Potatoes with Bacon
  • Mediterranean Style Green Beans.
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