What You Need to Consider for Fresh Meat Packaging

The pork and beef section of a grocery store meat case

With rising input costs and the ceaseless demands of running a retail operation, it can be easy to forget one of the fundamental elements that puts fresh meat in carts: packaging.

Pause, take a breath and remember:

Looks Matter

Consumers purchase the meat they feel will be the freshest. According to a 2022 report, 50% of shoppers seek out non-ground meat that appears to be cut and packaged in the store. The report notes shoppers believe overwrap packaging has the appearance that it’s cut fresh in the back of the store, whereas other case ready packaging makes it more evident that the meat arrives at the store pre-cut.1

It’s not all about overwrap, though. Another packaging survey found 34% of meat consumers believe vacuum sealed packaging on steaks implies the meat is high quality, significantly higher than any other packaging types.2

Bottom line: talk with your provider, get the data for your area and pack accordingly.

Fresh Has To Freeze

One of the lasting consumer behaviors from COVID-19 is increased bulk purchasing and freezing of fresh meat. About a third of meat consumers say they “seek out non-ground meat in freezer-friendly packaging.”

With 22% of shoppers keeping their purchase in the original packaging and 23% doing the same but with added protection, vacuum packaging is the perfect answer to freezer burn and to keep your customers satisfied.3

A hand removes a vacuum-sealed package of ground beef from the other frozen meats in a home freezer

Waste Not, Want Not

Every year, 21 billion pounds of fresh meat is wasted before even reaching the store. At the store, an additional 800 million is lost.4 These are not insignificant numbers, and your first line of defense is a supplier who understands case ready proteins and the impact their packaging has on reducing shrink, new technologies, and what this ultimately means for your bottom line.

Sustainability Matters

A survey of meat consumers shows that 54% of meat consumers say they have become more concerned with general sustainability in the last year, and almost half (46%) are willing to pay at least $1.00 more per pound for a package of sustainable fresh meat.5

Of course, having quality protein that aligns with consumers’ desire for sustainable products is key, but retailers shouldn’t discount the package they’re in either. The same study also showed that consumers’ perceptions of environmentally responsible meat included having recyclable or bio-degradable packaging and an overall reduction in carbon emissions. To them, the details matter.

More For Your Consideration

The key to making informed decisions for any aspect of your meat case is rooted in having the right information — not just bland statistics but actionable insights tailored to your region and your shoppers. Tyson Foods is a partner who can deliver on just that and more.

1 Tyson Fresh Meats, General Consumer Monitor, Q2 2022
2 Tyson Fresh Meats, Packaging Study, January 14, 2020
3 Cryovac®, 2021 National Meat Case Study, August 2021
4 IRI, Integrated Fresh, MULO, 52 SEK 12/28/2021
5 Midan Marketing, Meat Consumer Tracking Survey April 2022

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