Seal and Reseal
“The average family throws away about $590 in groceries each year, so the ability to maintain freshness is paramount with a larger pack. Recloseability only offers the illusion of extended shelf life. Once oxygen hits those products, the clock starts ticking,” Salm notes.
Roerink stresses the value recloseability offers. “Recloseability has been a very important packaging innovation that is making volume-based discounts more attractive to atypical demographics and provides a solution to consumers who are making fewer store visits but like to purchase fresh meat and poultry. Right now is a great time to experiment with different merchandising tactics to see what works for each specific store audience,” she declares.
Uetz adds: “We’re seeing a huge trend of frozen resealable bags of tenderloins, drumsticks and other products that you can take out when you want them.”
Making products stand out in an environment with a lot of SKUs is also key among processors who sell to club stores and retailers that offer bulk and larger packages. Peterreins says that offering products with an organic and non-GMO profile distinguishes Rastelli’s offerings, in both the Pure Land line of beef and in its Sustainable Catch line of salmon farm-raised in the icy waters of the Faroe Islands. “Organic buyers are shopping at club stores, too, knowing that they can get value on organic,” Peterreins remarks.
Using packages to share information on preparing and cooking products is also a consideration in bulk and larger-portion meat and poultry items. “Education continues to be key. With products like saddle-packs, you need to be sure that instructions stay with the products. There are a lot of consumers who don’t necessarily know what to do with them,” Uetz points out, adding that digital platforms and point of sale materials are another way to educate consumers about the preparation and storage of meat and poultry.
“We believe that it is important for our packaging to have attractive, mouth-watering photography, bright colors, clear and succinctly-stated marketing messages, easy to find nutritional and product benefit information, and serving suggestions that help maximize the overall satisfaction of our products,” ATK’s Schaffner says.
From a merchandising standpoint, sampling also goes a long way in engaging club store shoppers. “We do what we call ‘road shows’ in club stores, where we go there and cook for members to get them to try the product,” Peterreins explains. “If we are there doing a demo and they try it, that’s how you get repeat customers.”
Club stores aren’t the only retail operations that can have success with larger packages of meat and poultry products, including fresh and frozen items. “The vast majority of larger portion products are purchased at club stores, but I think there’s an opportunity, especially seasonally, to sell bulk packs at traditional supermarkets,” Salm says. He points out that in the Midwest, sausage sales slow down a bit during the fall and winter, but when the weather warms up and shoppers are hosting barbecues again, larger pack sizes make sense.
Roerink also sees opportunities in different meat cases. “This kind of packaging can be a real solution for other channels, particularly supercenters that tend to cater to larger households, but with the right store audience, supermarkets as well,” she observes.
Uetz, too, says there has indeed, been a transition to offer larger package sizes to create value opportunity among supermarket shoppers. “Even with small relief in pricing, consumers are looking to stretch their budget dollars and if they look at value packs and what those can provide in convenience, they will continue to buy those even when prices go down a bit,” he says.