DALLAS – At the conclusion of the Annual Meat Conference, Anne-Marie Roerink, principal, 210 Analytics, presented the highly anticipated annual “The Power of Meat” report, sponsored by Sealed Air. According to the report, consumers for the first time reported purchasing natural/organic meat and poultry at a higher rate than in previous years.
In 2008, 69 percent of shoppers recalled buying meat and poultry items that were not natural/organic and on 19 percent recalled having done so. Through the last eight years the gap has slowly closed (a change of 50 percentage points) until trending into the opposite direction.
Roerink concluded that the most current report suggested the core group of organic and natural shoppers possess specific characteristics that producers and retailers need to make themselves aware of when partnering to develop and execute marketing campaigns and promotions.
• Household incomes of $100,000 or higher
• Predominantly from the millennial and Generation X demographics
• More frequent shoppers with higher spends per trip
• Families with children, especially younger kids
• College educated
• Full time employees
• Predominantly shop supermarkets and specialty stores
• Show a higher probability of shopping online and at farmers’ markets
But the growth in the segment goes beyond the instinctive thought of health and wellness being the main driver of these shoppers. “Free-from and animal welfare are driving the growth in natural and organic,” Roerink said. And price appears to be the greatest barrier to those who don’t purchase natural and organic.
According to the report, more than half of shoppers who don’t purchase natural/organic meat and poultry products cite the large price difference as the reason. “The Power of Meat” uses IRI data with price differences as high as 98 percent for natural products and per pound organic products as much as 2.5 times more expensive. “It is just too expensive to be paying several dollars more for the same amount,” one survey respondent to the study said.
Still, the growth does not show any signs of reversing its upward trajectory. While the core consumer group remains price immune, the study does show a periphery of shoppers who are price sensitive, but also occasionally purchase and help drive the natural segment.