Balancing the Assortment of Prime and Economical Meat Selections


In January of 2018, Fortune magazine published an article title “Beef Will Always Be King: Americans Are Set to Eat More Meat in 2018 Than Ever Before”.  For the meat industry, the news couldn’t be better, and it was consistent with our findings over the past decade; meat consumption levels are going up, as consumers recognize the value and importance of a high-protein diet.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the average consumer ate 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2017 alone, which surpassed a previously set record in 2004.  Other high-protein foods including dairy (cheese and milk) and eggs are also increasing in demand steadily.

How does this information and trend impact grocery store purchase strategies for 2018 and 2019? It is time to take a look at the pricing and cost of your beef, chicken, pork and turkey products, but also at the product assortment that you are currently offering your shoppers.

At Miami Beef® we have been a trusted wholesale provider of quality meats for over 100 years.  Serving the restaurant, institutional and grocery retail sectors, we have some valuable insights to share about evaluating the breadth of fresh and frozen meat products you provide your customers.  Stay competitive, by having the best assortment of meat for your shoppers.

Avoid Budget Exclusion in the Meat Section: Developing a Competitive Pricing Strategy

For a grocery store to be successful, they must cater to all consumers regardless of their budget.  One of the biggest oversights (even by large and successful grocery chains) is price exclusion.  And in most cases, it starts where some of the highest priced food products reside; in the fresh meat section.

It is easy to define your fresh meat pricing strategy based on national averages.  For instance, the average American household with two full-time incomes, earns approximately $56,516 per year according to 2015 data from the last U.S. Census.  However, household income changes depending on the age of the individuals and varies greatly from the average rate.

For example, in recent data from the Bureau of Labor statistics in 2017, the actual earning averages are significantly lower.

  • Aged 16-19 years: $422 weekly and $21,944 annually
  • Aged 20-24 years: $525 weekly and $27,300 annually
  • Aged 25-34 years: $776 weekly and $40,352 annually
  • Aged 35-44 years: $976 weekly and $50,752 annually
  • Aged 45-54 years: $975 weekly and $50,700 annually
  • Aged 55-64 years: $966 weekly and $50,232 annually
  • Aged 65 years and up: $904 weekly and $47,008 annually

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that American spend an average of 6% of their total net income budget on food, and an additional 5% of their budget on dining out.  That means 11% of total net income is required for food and beverage needs.

Taking a mean age of 35-44 years and the average monthly income of approximately $3000, the reality of the cost of groceries and budgeting for family needs becomes much clearer. It works out to be $180.00 per month on groceries, or just under $400 per month for a two-income family with an average of four individuals (two children) within the household.

Many retail grocery stores prefer to select only premium cuts of beef (for example) in their fresh or frozen meat sections.  However, while having premium cuts is essential for a small niche of affluent consumers, this strategy excludes medium to lower income families, who are looking for more economical options.

Some food for thought, when considering the product assortment of beef, pork, chicken and turkey you purchase for your retail grocery store.  Yes, there is a quality difference between premium cuts and more economical alternatives, but consumers depend on that cost variety to help make ends meet.  Starting in the meat section.

How to Find Good Quality Economical Meats for Your Grocery Store

Just as consumers have to source many options to stretch their budget, so too should grocery chains evaluate numerous suppliers on competitive pricing.  This should be done on a biannual basis, to survey and modify your pricing strategy, and evaluate new wholesale processors that can help you meet the demand for quality and value.

Ground Beef

As a base for everything from savory chilli to hearty sauces, ground beef is the mainstay of many great home cooked meals.  The fat content naturally determines price point, but make sure to offer a variety of blends from premium extra-lean to standard and economical higher fat and lower priced options.


Everyone wants to enjoy the savory flavors of grilled steak, and some consumers are definitely eager to pay extra for premium cuts.  Profitability margins on the premium cuts are highest for grocery stores and they are a prestige item.  However, they are also significantly out of the reasonable price range for most large families.

The difference between premium beef steaks and economical varieties, has to do with the age of the beef, the fat marbling and tenderness of the meat product.  Market the medium to lower grade beef steaks with education and product placement, to help educate consumers about appropriate cooking times, marinades and methods to achieve tender and delicious results, with more economical cuts of beef that are budget friendly including:

  • Chuck Eye (fifth rib next to the rib eye cut)
  • Flat iron steak
  • Tip sirloin
  • Chuck arm steak (braising only)

Grocery stores and product position marinades and signage at the point of purchase, to help consumers get great results, with economy grade beef steaks.  Installation of a scan and go app in the meat section, can also provide recipe suggestions while enrolling your customer for email communications and future grilling tips.   Help them create great culinary results on a budget.


Chicken breasts, boneless chicken patties and wings are three of the mostly highly priced varieties of packaged fresh poultry for consumers.  But did you know that bone-in chicken thighs (skin on) are some of the most delicious and tender chicken types for backyard grilling?  Market the economical cuts of chicken with meal suggestions, recipe booklets and other resources for consumers.


Frozen turkey burgers are the next ‘big thing’ for meat eaters who want a little change and alternative to all-beef patties.  Ground turkey meat is also popular for soups and homemade meatballs.  Think beyond the coveted (and expensive) turkey breast for economical cuts that are in demand.


If you are looking for expert advice regarding new and economical meat products to augment your fresh or frozen food section, contact us today.  Miami Beef® has the processing experience and capacity to serve national and international wholesale customers.