By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, FMI

meat technology

While the backroom used to be where butchers made cuts by hand, there’s a different kind of cutting edge in today’s food retail meat business. Advanced technologies are changing the way meat is produced, processed and packaged, as well as handled and merchandised at food retail.

Today, early in the supply chain, technology provides greater transparency and traceability, to the point where consumers can scan an on-package QR code to learn more about the farm or ranch where an animal was raised. Processing facilities are investing in robotics, automation and software to improve efficiency, consistency and safety and to provide retail customers with products, including case-ready and value-added items, that meet their specific needs.

At the store level, retailers are increasingly deploying tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning to better manage their inventory and keep their cases well stocked and up to date in freshness. Meat managers are also collaborating with other retail teams to leverage data to determine the best assortment and pricing for that store’s shoppers. Internally, the advent of more sophisticated software is helping retailers optimally staff their meat departments, a key priority in a tight labor market.

Innovations in technology are coming at a pivotal point for the meat retail sector. Consumers continue to eat at home more often and, although they have improved their cooking skills since the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still looking for help in choosing and preparing animal-based proteins.

Get more insights on how technology is transforming the meat case and delivering what consumers want at the upcoming Annual Meat Conference, March 6-8, 2023, in Dallas. On Wednesday, March 8, FMI & NAMI will present a general session on Retail Innovations in Meat spotlighting new horizons in innovation, automation and technology.

Register Today