As the global food supply chain starts to re-define "normal" operations, fresh meat processors and retailers may be looking for inspiration to prepare for what lies ahead.
Two key takeaways during the pandemic have been that the global food supply chain is more vulnerable to disruption than previously thought, and that consumers can and will adjust buying habits quickly to ensure uninterrupted access to and availability of food.
Sealed Air store-intercept research conducted in late 2020 revealed that in the fresh meat section, partially-stocked or stocked-out shelves send signals to shoppers that something’s wrong, leading in some cases to panic-buying or in the case of a stock-out, some say they simply will leave the store rather than find an alternative.*
Managing inventory, labor and customer expectations can be made easier by employing case-ready meat packaging. Not only does it help you move product to shelves quickly, it also provides shelf life up to 2X longer than meats that sit in the full-service counter, giving you more time and flexibility to keep a steady supply of fresh meats on display.
With unemployment rates at historical lows, acquiring and keeping trained labor is harder than ever - especially in the fresh meat category.
When supply disruption occurs, the amount of in-store handling required by back-of-house chores such as unpackaging, hand-cutting and repackaging require time that could be put to better use making sure your shelves stay stocked and ready for your customers.
Now more than ever, every ounce of meat that moves through the supply chain needs to do so in a way that can minimize handling and maximize shelf life. In addition, our research confirms that as customers look for touchless options that ensure transparency and food safety, proteins in vacuum skin packaging give them the reassurance they need.*
Supermarket News reports that post-pandemic, e-grocery sales are expected to climb from $35 billion in 2019 to more the $250 billion by 2025 – a pace almost twice what was predicted prior to COVID-19.
By the end of 2020, 43% of U.S. consumers reported having shopped for groceries online – including order and delivery, click-and-collect, and third-party shopping. Many of whom report intentions to continue use of online channels even after restrictions have lifted.
Whether it's on the shelf, in the case, shown online, delivered to the doorstep, or in a meal kit, case-ready fresh meats have the unique benefit of offering one packaging format that works in all settings. Easy for a consumer or third-party shopper to identify and pick up with limited touch, easy-to-read labels, and package transparency while also being leak proof, freezer-ready, and taking up minimal storage space.
*Sealed Air proprietary research, 2020
1. Sealed Air store-intercept research, 2020
2. Supermarket News, 2020
3. FMI Power of Meat, 2021
Featured case-ready solutions that help you address change: