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With the onset of autumn comes football season, as well as such fall celebrations as Halloween and Thanksgiving, with consumers looking ahead to the winter holidays. To capture sales this time of year, suppliers across the store are bringing their A game by updating their playbooks to include online components and cross-departmental merchandising.
With recent research from Jacksonville, Fla.-based Acosta showing that 42 percent of shoppers surveyed grill at home before watching a game on TV and 31 percent grill at tailgating events, it’s a no-brainer to feature grill-ready meat items during the season. (For one grocer’s distinctive approach to this, see the sidebar below.)
“Tailgating centers on steaks and burgers,” affirms Christy Johnson, director of advertising and marketing strategy for the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand, in Wooster, Ohio. “They only take minutes to prepare, so there’s more time to enjoy the big game. … For busier weeknights, retailers may also want to feature roast recipes for the slow cooker. They’re quick to prepare in the morning so that a delicious and nutritious dinner is ready when the family returns home.”
The brand helps its retail partners incorporate easy tailgating and holiday recipes into videos, social media posts, advertising, newspaper circulars, customer emails and in-store signage, according to Johnson. “With promotions built around recipes, retailers have more opportunities to bring meal components from produce, bakery and center store to the meat case, providing easy meal solutions for customers to pick up for dinner tonight,” she says.
Despite CAB’s emphasis on tech-savvy programs, supermarkets and their employees still have a crucial role to play, stresses Johnson. “We have evolved our toolkits to be more digitally focused, but retailers will still need physical promotions in stores and traditional formats,” she observes. “Into the fall season, as comfort food and roasts regain popularity, it’s important for meat staff to be prepared to answer customers’ questions and point them to helpful resources such as our Roast Perfect app. We are actively engaged in helping our retailers bring this personal level of service to customers through their meat teams.”
“The seasonal promotions for Star Ranch Angus beef focus on Mealtime Matters, celebrating the special moments around the dinner table,” says Rick Janke, senior brand manager at Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based Tyson Fresh Meats. “Our fall promotion kicks off this September and features the American tradition of tailgating. Elements in the promotion include signage, coupons and recipes, and are intended to create awareness and loyalty to help drive incremental sales at the meat case.”
Tyson also looks beyond the store in its promotions. “As more and more consumers are getting their information online, it’s essential to engage with our Star Ranch Angus beef shoppers digitally,” notes Janke. “We recently refreshed our consumer website, and we incorporate digital media advertising and contests into all of our promotions. It’s important to us that our retail partners have the marketing tools — both online and in-store — needed to increase sales of Star Ranch Angus beef and improve their bottom line.”
Party on a Platter
Of course, seasonal opportunities abound beyond the fresh meat department. “During the tailgating/holiday time frame, we offer an in/out opportunity for our retailers with the Tailgate Tray,” consisting of pre-cut meat and cheese with crackers, notes Emily Klotz, party tray brand manager at Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods.
“With our key seasonality taking place during the holiday time frame, we see the greatest lift when our products are … featured by retailers,” says Klotz. “This type of promotion puts us top of mind for consumers and helps them understand how they can use our product in their upcoming events.”
She adds that Hormel also teams with retailers on “co-marketing opportunities such as coupons and retailer-specific apps to help drive trial. We have seen a lot of success with these types of promotions.”