Tops' Diverse Approach
When it comes to marketing meats en masse, Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Friendly Markets takes a multi-tiered approach. “We carry everything from chicken feet to salmon heads and lots of smoked offals, but we don’t put these items in our regular circular. We use those to appeal to the masses, not specific ethnic groups,” said Lane. “We do include these types of meats in in-store fliers and window signs, though, because that’s where those shoppers have come to expect information about what we carry.”
Like Fine Fare/Dolcy Foods in Perth Amboy, Tops has a wide mix of ethnic groups to market to at its many locations. Around 30% of the chain’s stores have some Hispanic influence. Another 25% of Tops’ shoppers are what Lane considers “urban-influenced.”
“We also have Jewish or kosher shoppers who shop at about 25% of our stores,” he said. “In order to address the needs of all of these groups, we carry over 50 different specialty meat SKUs in pork, beef, smoked meats, chicken, turkey and seafood.”
The case sets differ from store to store at Tops. Each one is first packed with standard types and cuts of meat that are commonly purchased by mainstream customers. Then, variety meats are added in based on the demographics of the local market, said Lane.
“Any meat can be labeled to help shoppers better understand what they are looking at,” said Amstein.
“In markets where shoppers hail from places like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico or Venezuela, thinly sliced packages of beef could have signage nearby or stickers on the packs that say, ‘Use to make Milanesa,’” she said.
“Chopped lamb can be marketed as an ingredient in Lebanese or Greek recipes, while pork belly is perfect to promote as an ingredient used in Korean dishes.”
By simply communicating what the meats are and what recipes they are commonly used in, supermarkets can help eliminate a major barrier for people purchasing products in the meat department.
As convenience becomes increasingly important to all shoppers, retailers should pay even more attention to packaged meats, said Rodemeyer, who noted it is important to provide detailed product information in both full-service and self-serve display cases.
Taste remains the biggest influencer of meat purchases across all ethnic groups, according to the National Pork Board’s studies. But convenience has and will continue to impact purchase patterns as well, she added.