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Continuing behaviors adopted during the recession, American consumers are eating in more, which is beneficial to the fresh protein businesses of meat, poultry and seafood alike. However, consumers are also choosing less expensive cuts of meat, stocking up on sales, and looking for deals. Moreover, in the current market landscape, where even drugstores are selling prepared foods, groceries are facing more dinnertime competition than ever before, including from supercenters and warehouse clubs emphasizing fresh center-plate options. During this “new normal” economy, consumers’ value focus has also given a boost to private-label center-plate proteins, which are growing in importance as supermarkets use store brands to help differentiate themselves and build shopper loyalty.
This report examines the proteins that U.S. consumers place “center of plate” for the dinner daypart, including meats (beef, pork, lamb, etc.), poultry (chicken and turkey), and seafood (fish and shellfish). It focuses on fresh (refrigerated) protein products cooked at home, which encompass raw products in general as well as value-added products for sale at meat and seafood counters (e.g., pre-marinated meats, pre-skewered kabobs, etc.). The report examines the forces driving consumer choices, including economic factors, the healthfulness of various products, personal tastes and preferences, culinary trends, convenience, cooking skills, and environmental factors. Consumer shopping habits are also be examined, as are trends among those involved in this industry, including suppliers of the center-plate protein products and the retailers in which consumers buy them.
The report covers the market from all angles, including marketer/brand share by center-plate fresh protein type, marketing and new product trends, retail and merchandising trends, and consumer trends, with focus discussions on topics including private label, natural, and alternative retail formats. A special feature of this all-new report is custom data from Packaged Facts’ own consumer survey, which is based on a national online poll conducted in October 2010.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Restaurants Against the Ropes
With a recession that has claimed some 9.5 million jobs and decreased household wealth has come migration from restaurants to grocery aisles, resulting in supermarket share growth in consumer packaged goods grocery for the first time in years. And in the restaurant-vs.-retail fight for consumers’ food dollars, retail continues to have the upper hand. When adjusted for inflation, restaurant industry sales are expected to decline 0.1% in 2010, according to National Restaurant Association research. In Packaged Facts’ February 2010 Consumer Restaurant Tracker survey, restaurant-goers report that they’re continuing to shift their food spending into the home. For example, compared to “three months ago,” 42% are spending less money (either “a lot” less or “a little” less) on meals eaten at restaurants, and 40% are spending less on takeout, delivery or drive-thru. Conversely, 31% are a eating dinner at home “a lot more” compared to three months ago, and 19% are eating at home “a little more.”
Center-Plate Protein Resists Crossing Over
Because seafood is less popular than meat or poultry, the percentages are somewhat lower for the question “Within the past 3 months, where have you purchased refrigerated raw fish or seafood?,” but grocery stores still lead the pack. According to the Packaged Facts survey,
59% of shoppers have bought fresh seafood at a traditional grocery store recently. Walmart and warehouse clubs are again ranked second and third, at 35% and 14%, respectively. Whole Foods, at 11%, scored even better than Target, Kmart and Meijer combined (10%), showing that the Austin-based natural foods chain has claimed an outsized presence in the seafood retail landscape due to its emphasis on quality and sustainability as opposed to low prices. Whereas 6% of shoppers visited independent butcher shops for meat purchases in the last three months, 9% went to specialty seafood shops for seafood purchases, showing that consumers are more likely to value expertise and selection when buying fish as opposed to meat.
Hamburger, Chicken Parts Are Most Popular Cuts
Among respondents to Packaged Facts’ survey, 85% had purchased refrigerated raw meat, poultry or sausage for cooking at home within the last 3 months. For this consumer base, hamburger (81%) is the favorite meat or poultry purchase, given that hamburger meat is both inexpensive in comparison to other meats and versatile—useful for meatloaf, spaghetti sauces, tacos, casseroles, and of course hamburgers themselves. Not far behind hamburger are “chicken parts” (75%).In the News
Consumer Preference for Home Cooked Meals Ignites Growth in Sales of Meat, Poultry, and Other Center-Plate Proteins
New York, April 4, 2011 — In spite of a difficult retail market in which consumers are more price sensitive than before, suppliers of center-plate protein (including poultry, beef, pork and seafood) at the retail level have been benefiting from Americans seeking to economize by cooking and eating at home. The eating–at–home trend has been further fueled by the perception that homemade meals are healthier than restaurant cuisine.
As a result, dollar sales of dinner center–plate proteins gradually rose during the five-year period from 2006 to 2010, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts in What’s For Dinner 2011: Trends in Center of Plate. Packaged Facts estimates sales of dinner center–plate proteins exceeded $5 billion in 2010. Sales were also strongest in 2010, when they rose 4%, a notch higher than the 3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) registered during the period. Modest but steady growth is forecast through 2015 even as consumers begin their gradual return to dining out more frequently.
“We expect sales growth to continue at 4% annually for the next three years, benefiting from the strengthening economy but facing increased restaurant competition as that channel also reaps the rewards of U.S. consumers loosening their purse strings,” says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “By 2014, sales will begin to moderate, with 3.5% annual growth in 2014 and 2015 bringing U.S. retail sales to slightly more than $6 billion.”
Topping each of the meat, poultry and seafood categories are private label products labeled with the store name and sold at supermarket butcher counters and fish counters or prewrapped in the meat case. Grocers have been using private-label protein products to draw in customers and create differentiation in a crowded retail marketplace. The fact that consumers have flocked to private–label offerings more than they have to those marketed as “upscale” further signifies that this remains a tentative economy in which consumers are looking for value and are not as easily wooed by fanciness, notes Montuori.
Private–label sales of center–plate meat garnered a 43% market share, more than triple the 12% category share maintained by Cargill, the leading national brand. With $571 million in 2010 sales, private–label fresh and frozen chicken controlled 28% of the center–plate poultry market, more than double the level of sales enjoyed by the category’s top marketer, Jennie–O. Consumers also prefer private–label seafood to national brands, to the tune of $60 million in 2010, up 17% over the previous year’s sales.
What’s For Dinner 2011: Trends in Center of Plate Proteins examines the proteins that U.S. consumers place “center of plate” for the dinner daypart, including meats (beef, pork, lamb, etc.), poultry (chicken and turkey), and seafood (fish and shellfish). It focuses on fresh (refrigerated) protein products cooked at home, which encompass raw products in general as well as value–added products for sale at meat and seafood counters (e.g., pre–marinated meats, pre–skewered kabobs, etc.). The report examines the forces driving consumer choices, including economic factors, the healthfulness of various products, personal tastes and preferences, culinary trends, convenience, cooking skills, and environmental factors. Consumer shopping habits are also examined, as are trends among those involved in this industry, including suppliers of the center–plate protein products and the retailers in which consumers buy them.
For further information, please visit: http://www.packagedfacts.com/Dinner-Trends-Center-2806009/.
About Packaged Facts — Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. To learn more, visit: www.packagedfacts.com. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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