I’m fortunate for us to again have an update from Liz Wunderlich at the U. S. Meat Export Federation.

Elizabeth Wunderlich — U.S. Meat Export Federation — Tel:  830.997.6319 — Text:  830-456-5560—E-mail:  wunderlc@hctc.net – Web site: www.usmef.org 

Top Findings of the Power of Meat 2013 (the retail Annual Meat Conference in Nashville):

1. Decline in home-cooked meals that feature meat or poultry – driven by both the quest to save and health and

wellness efforts looking for protein variety, the number of home-cooked meals featuring meat or poultry declined.

2. Price and Value remain important — Pre-trip and in-store research to compare prices and value continue to lead the

meat purchasing decision.  However, the focus on price is not longer to the extreme degree seen in the past 2 yrs,

with an easing up on money-saving among higher-income shoppers.

3. Household income hugely influences meat purchases – While demographics, such as age and gender, influence

meat purchasing, income has the greatest influence of all.  Lower-income shoppers spend less, eat meat less

frequently, are more likely to implement money-saving measures and largely decide based on price.  Higher-income

shoppers increasingly seek convenience, speed and healthy options.

4. Rising importance of convenience – Consumption of heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat meats increased, particularly

among higher-income shoppers.  At the same time, the importance of total preparation time rose as a factor in the

meat purchasing decision.

5. National brands gain ground – While shoppers continue to display a great degree of flexibility to substitute between

brands, species and cuts, a greater share of shoppers reported preferring national brands outright.  Store-brand

preference remained stable, but the share of undecided shoppers declined.

6. Quick meals that stretch the meat dollar rise in popularity – Shoppers recorded a strong increase in the

preparation frequency of under-20 minutes meals and one-pot meals over the past five years.  Pastas and casseroles

noted a strong increase among lower-income households.

7. Package callouts influence purchasing decision – Package callouts are becoming increasingly popular and many

have a least some influence on the purchasing decision, led by the USDA beef grading system (select, choice, prime).

Other Influential callouts focus on things people wish to avoid (e.g. “steroid-free” and “hormone-free”).

8. Natural and organic continue growth – In a post-recession comeback, the share of shoppers who have purchased

natural and/or organic meat rose to 26%, with a particularly high penetration among higher-income shoppers.

9. Cross-merchandising suggestions welcomed – Shopper knowledge of meat and poultry is marginal at best.  When

not sure how to prepare something, digital resources are the number one source, but shoppers are very open to

retailer advice.  More shoppers (57% frequently or sometimes) are taking up their stores’ product suggestions that

complement the meat purchase, such as marinades, cheese, wine and potatoes.

10. Healthy choices in the meat dept. remain on backburner – While shoppers agree that nutrition info. is readily

available in the meat dept., most put only “some” effort into making healthy protein choices.  Driven by higher-income

shoppers, healthy eating strategies in the meat dept. increasingly focus on leaner cuts, followed by portion control.

11. Industry report card – Cutting across banners, the highest-rated attributes among supermarkets were quality,

cleanliness and variety.  Supercenters’ highest marks went to actual availability, cleanliness, and everyday prices.

Eckrich expands Bacon lovers line nationally 

A new deli meat line made with real bacon is now available in grocery stores.  Bacon Lovers varieties available are:

Bacon Covered Ham, Bacon Ranch Chicken Breast, Bacon Covered Club, Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast with Bacon

and Peppered Bacon Covered Roast Beef.  Look for spots on “United States of Bacon” airing on Destination America.

Jimmy Dean brings flatbread to breakfast 

The Delights by Jimmy Dean line of frozen breakfast options is adding Delights Flatbread Sandwiches, each with fewer

than 300 calories.  These additions include:  Delights Bacon, Egg & Cheese Flatbread.

Kansas State University develops omega-3-rich ground beef 

Dr. Jim Drouillard has developed a technique that enriches ground beef with the fatty acids that have been shown to

reduce heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure with technology that is a spinoff of his flaxseed research.  He

studied flax for several of its omega-3 fatty acids that may suppress inflammation and reduce diabetes in cattle, and the

result was a dramatic increase of omega-3 levels as more flaxseed was introduced into their diet.

Employment note:  Branded resort in Aruba is looking for an energetic kitchen professional with a minimum of 5

years supervisory experience to join a dynamic team as a Sous Chef–previous steakhouse experience a plus. Send

inquiries to ccarton@yahoo.com.

USMEF Caribbean Happenings: April and May

April 19 -25:  Nassau with Meat Scientist Homero Recio: BBQ contest, training at Atlantis & Super Value + trade visits.

May 1 – 3:  Antigua for Non Such Bay BBQ event, DeBragga/USMEF seminar on new cut ideas (hosted by IP).

May 19 – 24:  USMEF board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C.