By: Lucas Darnell, Director of Membership, Food Marketing Institute
Lucas Darnell Pitmaster

As an award winning and competition BBQ pitmaster, it’s always an exciting time for me at FMI when we release the Power of Meat report. In the 2017 report, the concept of “getting meat right” is evident in the way retailers and stores are focusing on the powerful meat category.  As someone that is in the meat department in different channels almost every day, this focus is exciting!

As a frequent meat shopper, I have two different approaches to the meat category at the grocery level.  If I’m cooking at home or for competition, I generally make my meat purchases at the supermarket because I can depend on their quality and variety. In addition, “premiumization” in the meat department can often mean the difference between first or second place in a BBQ competition.  I’m not alone in my dependence on grocery stores for my meat selection with 62 percent of shoppers naming the supermarket as their primary outlet for meat and poultry purchases.

Conversely, if I’m cooking BBQ for a large amount of people, such as a birthday party or major sporting event, price becomes a bigger issue.  I will switch to either supercenters or clubs, which account for 59 percent and 53 percent of those shoppers that will switch because of their everyday low prices image.

Often times the biggest differentiating factor for a pitmaster is customer service.  If the butcher behind the counter at the supermarket can help me pick out product, order special product or make informed recommendations on new products a bond of loyalty will be established.  Finding that perfect cut of meat makes me happy shopper, which means I’m going to continue to frequent that store and most likely do my total food shopping there.

The Power of Meat offers plenty of perspective on the meat department through the consumer’s eyes.  I encourage you to download the report today.