The milk and bread aisles aren't the only weekly stops for grocery shoppers. You can add the meat case into that mix as well.

During the National Pork Board's Point of Decision at the Meat Case Study, researchers observed consumers while they were shopping, then stopped and asked those same individuals how and why they made their meat purchases. Not only did researchers want to learn how often consumers shop for groceries, they also were interested in behavior while in the store.

The results proved enlightening. For instance, 83 percent of consumers grocery shop once a week or more. When asked how often they stop at the meat case, consumers "always stop" 52 percent of the time and "usually stop" 34 percent of the time. This means retailers have more opportunities to feature meat specials because of the shoppers' frequency at the meat case.

Researchers also found that consumers re-evaluate meat products on every shopping trip, and they spend more time doing this than for other food purchases. The study found, on
average, consumers spend four minutes at the meat case vs. one minute for other foods. Pork purchases take more time than beef or chicken. Consumers typically pick up and touch meat products for freshness (82 percent vs. 15 percent for other food products).

Once consumers choose a meat product, their decisions are more influenced by promotions, merchandising and circulars than other food purchases (73 percent are influenced by meat advertising compared to 47 percent for other food products). Consumers also remember meat promotions and advertising more than for other food products, and the ads tend to be more effective with female and older shoppers.

Other key messages from NPB's consumer meat-case research indicates:

  • Price is usually the first purchasing consideration, followed by the meat's appearance, quality and taste. However, female shoppers are more concerned with price than their male counterparts.
  • Product healthfulness, whether it is safe to serve to their family and the lean/fat content, is considered the least important aspect.
  • Most consumers say they don't seek assistance from meat managers.

Bottom line, consumers buy a lot of meat, and they know what they want to buy. They want a quality cut of meat that's reasonably priced, and looks and tastes good. Now, it's your job to provide consumers with those products.