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    Easter Is Perfect Time for Retailers to 'Ham It Up'

    DES MOINES, Iowa -- While ham -- for two-thirds of American consumers -- fits into the Easter meal tradition, a recent National Pork Board online survey shows that nearly 50 percent of individuals need help picking the perfect ham.

    DES MOINES, Iowa -- While ham -- for two-thirds of American consumers -- fits into the Easter meal tradition, a recent National Pork Board online survey shows that nearly 50 percent of individuals need help picking the perfect ham.

    This finding provides retailers with an "egg-cellent" opportunity to educate consumers through a strong feature strategy to highlight the right ham to serve as the main menu item, said the National Pork Board.

    "Easter is a great time for traditional hams," said Karen Boillot, NPB's director of retail marketing. "Over the years, ham has become the centerpiece of a traditional Easter meal. Ham may even be considered the all-time favorite for Easter dinner."

    According to grocery scanner data from FreshLook Marketing, ham sales during the Easter month in 2005 were 106 percent higher than the average month throughout the remainder of the year. The only month higher for ham sales was December.

    While other Easter meal options also ranked high in March 2005, like lamb with sales 49 percent higher than the average month, bone-in beef roasts (30 percent higher), and even kielbasa (79 percent higher), nothing beats the crowd-pleasing ham.

    Strong feature support is one way retailers can capitalize on ham's popularity during Easter. According to Leemis Promo Data, ham's share of fresh meat features in March 2005 increased 9 percentage points to 12 percent from an average share of 3 percent during non-holiday months.

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