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With food, there are three levels of quality, according to the Hartman Group's Harvey Hartman in his "Unwrapping the Food Culture" presentation at the 2013 Annual Meat Conference.
There's the "instrumental," the "savoring," and the "inspirational."
"The instrumental is by far the largest; it's really about fueling," Hartman said. "It's all those legacy brands. It's all those brands that keep on going, have big volumes, but are relatively flat."
"Savoring is all about real food. And culturally from a food culture that's what consumers are looking for. They're looking for real food. They're looking for higher quality..."
Fifty-nine percent of meals fall into the instrumental category, 41% in the savoring, and less than 1% in the inspirational, the Hartman Group found. Shoppers would like to have more savoring experiences, though. They wish they consumed 40% instrumental meals and 60% savoring meals.
Hartman also pointed out that the meat category has opportunity to take advantage of the many fragmented meal occasions with smaller portions, more variety of meat snacks, and private label in the meat case. The growing popularity of meat products with no growth-hormones, no antibiotics, no steroids, no nitrates, no fillers and no additives shows that consumers are looking for transparency and to hear about the meat product's story, according to Hartman.
Because many shoppers see the meat department as the foundation of their store, Hartman said the meat department could become more than just one physical place within a store, with a team of meat specialists and more opportunity for the consumer to participate in the category.
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