Study Shows Evolution of Meatcase

The meat case has changed according to the 2007 National Meat Case Study.

New results from the 2007 National Meat Case Study will offer the Pork Checkoff insights on trends and strategies to meatcase merchandising to better appeal to consumers. The data from the 2007 study will be compared to findings from 2002 and 2004.

While the National Meat Case Study provides a benchmark against the same study conducted in previous years, it’s important to keep in mind the overall economic and market conditions affecting retail during the time the study was conducted. At the time of the 2007 meatcase audit, the economy was strong, the consumer price index was up and corn prices were up due to speculations on the booming bio-fuels industry. As a result, retail meat prices were climbing in response to higher meat production costs and increased meat demand.

The 2007 study included 121 retail supermarkets and 10 club stores in 48 metro markets across 34 states. The study was again sponsored by Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging, The Beef Checkoff and the National Pork Board.

Pork led the trend of value-added products as it continued to increase. The growth is 4% higher at 10% of the total fresh meat packages. Growth in value-added packages was driven by fresh pork, up 11 percentage points to 23% of fresh pork packages; turkey was up 5 percentage points to 19%; and beef, up 3 percentage points to 7%.

Packages of natural and organic meats also gained market share in 2007. Packages with a natural claim increased to 29% of the packages, up 7% points from 22% in 204. Chicken, at 67%, had the highest amount of packages including the natural claim followed by ground beef at 25% and fresh pork at 15%.

Another key finding was the continued increase of case ready packaging. There has been a significant shift toward more case ready packaging and away from in-store packaging. In 2002, less than 50% of the packages were case ready. In 2007, the percentage rose to 64%, with increases in most species, and lamb/veal and pork had the largest percentage point change.

Case ready packaging also experienced a greater ‘in stock’ position than store wrapped packages. Overall 71% of case ready packages were ‘in stock’ vs. only 50% for store wrapped packages.

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