With the acceleration of change in both operations and consumer expectations, now, more than ever, optimizing the performance of your fresh meat case is critical to staying competitive as well as and profitable. Historically known for a high contribution to retail shrink in your store, the fresh meat case is long overdue for a change. Here’s how we can help:
Food waste refers to the discarding of food that is – or once was – safe and nutritious for human consumption. This includes meat, poultry or seafood that may be visually unappealing because of color loss or texture change, as well as product that gets discarded because it’s beyond the sell-by date, often interpreted as being unsafe or spoiled.
Fresh cut meat and poultry spoils quickly. When cut and wrapped at the store, shelf life ranges from one or two days for poultry, and between one to five days for pork and beef, depending on cut.
When vacuum packaged under anaerobic conditions, however, whether in a bag, tray, or skin-pack, shelf life can be extended up to 3 to 5 times longer than meats cut and packaged in-store.
What does that mean to you? More time to move your inventory at full price, reduced food waste and profit loss, and a format customers have learned to love because it’s leakproof, freezer-ready, tamper-evident and can be made with materials that are renewable, recycled, or recyclable.*
*Degree of recyclability will vary depending on scope and availability of collection, sortation and recycling programs.
Consumer tastes, interests, and lifestyles are prone to change and their impact on what you stock changes along with them. For brick-and-mortar stores that are already in place, you have a limited amount of real estate in your perimeter – so what happens when, in addition to the items you know move quickly, your customers come looking for things like alternative proteins, grass-fed beef, lamb lollipops, or flat iron steak?
The 2021 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Power of Meat study reports that 68% of shoppers have a greater likelihood to buy more meat, if they can find a large variety in types of cuts. But variety comes at a cost – taking up space, taking your time, and potentially not moving quickly enough to sell before the due date.
One of the best solutions for unique, high-value, niche items is to ensure they come in packaging that adapts well to multiple distribution types and those that can move easily from the fridge to the freezer. For example, case-ready vacuum solutions offer a wide range of distribution and storage flexibility from retail fresh to e-commerce fresh or frozen. This enables use of one package format for multiple applications, and by extending product shelf life, gives you more ways to offer a broad range of proteins while minimizing shrink.
That’s why case-ready packaging helps you optimize your line-up: You can keep smaller volumes in inventory to respond efficiently as things change, keep high-value items fresher, longer, and still offer the selection and confidence to your shoppers that inspires more sales.
A 2020 McKinsey & Company report suggests that as online food sales continue to grow, savvy retailers will be investing in automation and innovative fulfillment models to help meet demand and pace, as well as lower costs.
While few grocers have had the financial means to invest in highly-efficient, automated cold-chains, the future may require you to cover new fulfillment channels including last-mile delivery – and to do so profitably.
Centralized back-of-house tasks like packaging, sorting, or case packing will be critical areas to consider for automation and limiting your package formats will be key to making that work.
1) Sealed Air / Harris Poll, 2018
2) FMI Power of Meat, 2020
Featured case-ready solutions that help you optimize operations: