By Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Director, Health & Well-being, FMI

home cooking

Over the past year, consumers have flocked to the meat department like never before. Retailers and product suppliers have a prime opportunity to ensure consumers are satisfied with their product selections and choices. Research indicates that while consumers appreciate meat products for the taste, they are also interested in the health and well-being benefits meat can provide as part of an overall healthy pattern of eating.

At this year’s Annual Meat Conference, FMI partnered with two retail registered dietitians to deliver a session focused on helping consumers understand the connection between food and health. This session highlighted the most effective ways to seize the opportunity to engage and keep consumers loyal to the meat department:

1. Talk about Health and Well-being in the Meat Department

Use credible resources to best equip your team to deliver accurate information about nutrition and positive attributes to engage and empower consumers.

2. Meet the Needs of Flexitarians with a Balanced Approach

Welcome both meat eaters and flexitarians with open arms and display options that include meat and poultry along with other nutrient-rich plant foods like vegetables, whole grains and beans.  

3. Merchandise Easy Solutions and Value-Added Options

Provide innovative and cross-merchandised solutions, grab-and-go convenience, ready-to-cook and value-added easy options to help consumers personalize their plates.

4. Provide Meal Ideas, Cooking Tips and Inspiration!

Seize the opportunity to become the go-to resource for wholesome, powerful family meal ideas! Join the National Family Meals Movement and inspire consumers to stay strong with family meals.

5. Captivate on Ecommerce

Market meal solutions and include health and well-being messaging on your digital platforms, including your website, app and social media, to meet consumers where they are.

From the Power of Meat 2021 report, 71% of consumers are putting effort into making nutritious and healthful meat and poultry choices. Ninety-four percent of shoppers indicate that including meat and poultry in their diet is important for high-quality protein. Even though consumers say sufficient health and nutrition information is available for making educated choices in the meat department, there is opportunity to expand on a few of the key nutrients specific to meat and poultry, like B12, heme iron and immune-supportive zinc and selenium.

More Americans have adopted a flexitarian lifestyle – not eliminating meat but eating it less frequently. Flexitarianism, defined as mostly a plant-based diet but occasionally eating meat and poultry, increased from 10% in 2019 to 19% in 2021 according to Power of Meat 2021 . While flexitarians emphasize healthy living, nutritious food choices, transparency, sustainability and social responsibility, most (67%) agree that meat or poultry belong in a healthy balanced diet.

Seize the opportunity to engage consumers around food safety in the home kitchen, with tips on hand washing, elimination of cross contamination, proper handling and storage, and consistent use of a food thermometer to cook meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures.

Bottom-line, the retailer is well-poised to become a go-to resource, guiding consumers to include the benefits of meat and poultry while enjoying other nutrient-rich foods on the plate for a balanced approach to meal planning. Retailers have the opportunity to provide convenient meal solutions with nutrition information and helpful food safety and cooking tips to their customers. Shoppers are looking for inspiration, encouragement and new ideas for family meals. What a great opportunity to link into the FMI Foundation Family Meals Movement!