Understanding what motivates consumers, especially in 2020, requires complex research and analysis. Anne-Marie Roerink is a food researcher who has conducted “The Power of Meat” study for more than a decade. Before grocery store shelves were laid bare in the early days of the ongoing pandemic, she released findings from an annual study on meat-case trends and consumer behavior. She recently spoke to the American Hereford Association at the Brand Marketing Summit.


Photo: Hereford.com

“To me, food is a fascinating category to look at as a researcher. We’ve been doing the Power of Meat on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute and the National North American Meat Institute for 14 years now.”

Every year, Roerink noted, they ask 1,500 consumers detailed questions about their meat purchases.

“We tend to look at consumer behavior and attitudes a lot, so that means what does a consumer do in the grocery store, how do they interact with our food at home? What are their attitudes as it pertains to the meat category and specific and with all of that information we hope to help the meat industry all the way from farm to fork as we say, and be better at really meeting the needs and the wants, which is a big thing in today’s environment of the consumer.”

In asking consumers these questions, Roerink and her team are able to gather valuable information for producers.

“Where I think the beef industry has a lot of ground to gain is in teaching people more about beef, so to make sure that not everything is ground or meatballs or burgers but really giving the younger generations more comfort with preparing roasts and ribs and what they consider the more difficult cuts as well.”

When it comes to the next generation of shoppers, Roerink said transparency will win the day.

“We have a lot of opportunity to connect with Millennials in new and different ways. It’s also a lot more need for transparency as we call the fancy word but wanting to know more about where does it come from, where did the meat, where was it raised, how was it raised, what did it eat and I think that is a huge opportunity for producers to connect with consumers on," Roerick continued. "To me transparency is the currency of trust and the more we can show, the more the consumer will start to link again to the brand and to the eating experience and that just means a win all the way around.”

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