Why Veal Captures Consumers’ Attention
A worldwide pandemic was a prime example of how disruption and unpredictability can be transformed into an unprecedented opportunity. After the early days of panic buying and supply chain shortages, shifts in consumers’ shopping behaviors and demand-driven advances in e-commerce technology revolutionized the retail meat marketplace. Introducing exotic new offerings like veal presents the perfect opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ emerging tastes and bring a profitable new attraction to your meat case.
Today’s Retail Consumers Are Spending More Than Ever on Meat
Prior to the pandemic, 59% of consumers regularly ordered takeout from restaurants.1 But once COVID-19 restrictions locked restaurants down, those homebound consumers began purchasing more of their meat directly from retailers. This shift saw more higher-quality meat — and the higher price points that accompany it — moving out of the bulk foodservice sector and into the retail sector. Today, more than two years after the onset of the pandemic, consumers are still demanding more restaurant-quality cuts of meat like veal at the grocery store and on e-commerce platforms.
Today’s Retail Consumers Are Also More Confident in the Kitchen
During the midst of pandemic lockdowns, consumers had no choice but to cook more often at home. As a result, packers and processors began pushing more higher-quality meat into grocery stores and onto e-commerce platforms to shore up their sales and feed the growing interest in meat that could be prepared at home. However, while they had enjoyed higher-quality meats in restaurants, many consumers had no experience with preparing them at home. This led to a marked rise in the ability and confidence of consumers in preparing more complicated dishes at home. According to the 2021 "Power of Meat" study, these newly confident cooks continue to focus on quality over quantity compared with 2020 and are looking to take on more challenging fare like veal in their kitchens at home.
The Rise in Consumer Spending and Confident Cooks Opens the Door for Nontraditional Meat Offerings Such as Veal
According to the 2021 "National Meat Case Study," veal, venison, bison and other exotic protein SKU counts have increased by 88% since 2018, pre-pandemic.2 Currently, veal accounts for almost 12% of the menu in fine-dining restaurants and is considered to be in the adoption stage of the menu innovation cycle3 at trendy restaurants and specialty grocers. Given that these trends are already at play in the marketplace, the elevated eating experience and European heritage that veal represents should be an irresistible allure to today’s more adventurous and experimental consumers.
When it Comes to Perceptions of Quality, Brands Matter to Consumers
In the fresh meat category, perceptions of taste and quality were drivers for consumer preference for manufacturer brands, based on the 2021 "Power of Meat" report. According to the report, 52% prefer purchasing national or private brands of fresh meats.4 Research also shows that if you can continue to show value and quality, today’s consumers will make sacrifices in other areas and remain brand loyal to your meat department.5 Offering premium products such as Trusted Veal from Europe can provide you with the differentiator that today’s quality-conscious consumers are yearning for.