Busy shoppers have a lot on their minds during the holiday season, while many are also looking to stretch their dollars. To help deliver on shoppers’ appetites for holiday fare such as hams and roasts, retailers must strategically support consumers’ budgets and capture their interest in value added meats. 

Those retailers who are successful have the opportunity to see positive results in their holiday meat sales results.  Households with heavy meat purchasers make on average 40 more grocery trips per year than typical US households.1 Furthermore, according to Beef Checkoff, grocery baskets with beef have on average a 206% higher dollar value than typical grocery baskets.2 

Such data may have retailers dreaming not of sugar plums, but of beef roasts and pork chops this holiday season. However, retailers seeking to capture the momentum of shoppers’ holiday feast purchases must be strategic.  

The coming holiday season will follow a fast rise of inflation for shoppers and many supply chain and labor challenges for retailers. The holidays will still be a time for celebrations, but shoppers may show subtle differences from past years, such as saving larger purchases for special meals, stretching leftovers further, and cutting back on dining out in restaurants.  

Expect shoppers to continue seeking inspiration when it comes to cooking this holiday season, and food is at the center of many holiday traditions. Retailers have an opportunity to inspire consumers throughout the store. 

Stocking the meat case 

Ribeye steaks and rib roasts may be traditional holiday fare, but retailers seeking to capture budget-conscious shoppers can incorporate additional options into the retail meat case. From sirloin roasts and strip loins to seasoned pork loins and chuck eye steaks, there are many options to keep retail meat accessible and affordable for shoppers.  

Many shoppers will not leave out meat during the holiday season. According to an April 2022 report by Midan Marketing, 32% of meat shoppers said they were responding to inflation by reducing their meat purchases, 13% by increasing their meat purchases, and 54% by keeping their meat purchases “about the same” as the month before.3 However, to make inflation-weary budgets stretch, shoppers may trade down in what they’re selecting at the retail meat case. 

To capture the roaming shopper who remains loyal to purchasing meat but is deviating from their traditional holiday cuts, retailers must find creative ways to showcase both quality and value.  Value added meats offer especially strong potential. Meats that are pre-portioned, marinated or case ready can further capture shoppers’ imaginations while also saving time. For example, Tyson® Sweet & Smoky BBQ marinated pork loin offers big flavor and short prep time. 

Shoppers may feel less like they are making a sacrifice and more like they are trading up for convenience and bold flavors. Twenty-six percent of shoppers said they purchased value added meats frequently, with 28% citing time as their largest purchase driver, followed by superior flavor (22%) and something different (22%).4 

Value added meats provide shoppers convenience and variety, whether taking center stage of gatherings or in between more formal holiday meals. Additionally, with Tyson Foods case ready fresh meats, shoppers can enjoy a customized beef or pork product with the perfect portions. 

While it may be challenging to know which products will capture shoppers’ attention, this is where the Tyson Foods fresh meats team can help retailers. A diverse sales team provides retail customers and meat shoppers innovative solutions offering variety and convenience. From marinated and seasoned meats to case ready cuts, the team is ready to keep the retail meat case fully stocked for the holidays. 

Educating shoppers on alternatives 

A deliberate educational strategy is key for retailers promoting alternative cuts during the holiday season. Recipes and how-to tutorials support shoppers in trying new cuts of meat.  

Developing and launching an educational campaign that consumers find relevant and meaningful can be daunting. However, digital assets can be a valuable first step. When meat shoppers are preparing a new meat or poultry dish, 51% turn toward digital resources for advice.4 More specifically, shoppers of meat and poultry most frequently search the internet first by “kind of meat” (58%), followed by “cut of meat” (52%) and cooking method (48%). Meanwhile, serving ideas for sides accounted for 33% of shoppers searching for information related to meat/poultry, and entertaining accounted for 25%.4 

This does not mean that retailers should abandon side dish recipes and entertaining advice. Instead, it suggests that when shoppers are planning their meals, they typically start with the meat entree and build out. Retailers can capture this trend by making meat the center of their marketing campaigns. 

The Tyson Foods beef and pork team supports retailers in doing this through a robust portfolio of retail case sales materials, a knowledgeable sales team, and a strong digital presence on store websites and across social media. 

At Tyson Foods, we are committed to our retailer-supplier relationships and helping customers find the right solutions for their meat case. From shopper-facing recipes with branded programs like Chairman’s Reserve® Meats to retailer-facing strategic conversations for stocking shelves and cross-merchandising, we work to build trust with our retailers every step of the way. 

One shopper-facing marketing strategy retailers should consider is how to rejuvenate leftovers. As shoppers seek larger, budget-friendly roasts, they may find recipes for making creative second entrees helpful. Additionally, retailers should remind shoppers that many of the meat cuts they purchase in-store stretch further than eating similar entrees in restaurants, and online or in-store tutorials featuring chefs can help shoppers recreate restaurant-quality meals at home. 

Finally, amid inflation, some shoppers may seek larger, budget-friendly roasts to feed large families, while others prefer smaller portioned servings to avoid waste. A family-first mom may seek to feed a crowd over the holidays, while a young adult hosting “Friendsgiving” for a few friends may seek smaller portions. A savvy retailer will be sure to capture both demographics.  

This is where Tyson’s fresh meats’ innovations team shines through. By combining consumer insights and beef and pork expertise with people, technology and high-quality products, we equip retail partners to meet shoppers’ needs and achieve success each season. 

While holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas may feel far away as we wrap up the “dog days of summer,” retailers should act now to keep meat center of shoppers’ holiday wish lists. Partnering with suppliers to capture shoppers’ interest in value added meat, providing educational resources on alternative cuts and accommodating a variety of shopper demographics will help to ensure success.

Kent Harrison is the vice president of fresh meats marketing and premium programs for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods.


1IRI, Making the Most of Meat Growth in 2022 

2NielsonIQ, Homescan Panel, Understanding the Buyers of Fresh Meat, Average Basket Size by Protein, June 2021   

3Midan Marketing, Meat Consumer Tracking Survey, April 2022 

4Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics LLC, The Power of Meat 2022, Report sponsored by Sealed Air Food Care Division/Cryovac® and Published by FMI and the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education