Wayne Rudneski, owner of three White Owl Convenience stores in Virden, MB, says his meat snack sales have grown in recent years with the addition of new suppliers, flavours, formats, and high-quality ingredients. Now, the emerging category makes up 1-2% of his overall c-store sales.
These trends make sense, as the meat snacks category is experiencing year-over-year growth, so retailers who understand how to effectively merchandise and promote the category in store can build sales and become a destination spot for protein-seeking customers.
The best part, says Rudneski, is the purchase of a meat snack product is usually accompanied by a secondary item. “If customers are buying beef jerky, they’re not only buying beef jerky. They’re coming in and buying a drink or a pack of gum, too. There’s always two items that go out the door, not just the meat snack,” he says.
To promote co-purchases, retailers should choose the category’s location wisely. An increasing number of consumers know they’re going to purchase a meat snack before they go into a store, but a large percentage of sales are still made on impulse, so location is key; as with any c-store product, the closer to the cash, the higher the sales.
Rudneski ensures customers notice meat snacks by weaving displays throughout the store. “If they go for a drink, there’s beef jerky by the beverage coolers; if they come to the front counter for a pack of cigarettes or a lottery ticket, meat snacks are there. I’ve put the category throughout the store because I know it’s an impulse buy for many of my customers.”
Pricing is important in the category, but keep in mind a $3.00 pepperoni stick will often sell just as fast as a $1.00 pepperoni stick, so offering a variety of formats, including singles and multi-packs, is key. It’s also important to stock a variety of flavours to ensure you’re appealing to as many customers as possible, so take advantage of flavour innovation to build excitement and promote trial.
Above all, says Rudneski, it’s about knowing your customers, understanding their needs, and stocking the right meat snack selection to keep them coming back on a regular basis.
Wayne’s top tips for meat snack success:
Ensure selection. There are plenty of flavours and formats available, so stock a wide variety to appeal to all customers.
Pick the right location(s). Promote impulse sales by placing meat snacks throughout your store. But remember, a dedicated section will also draw in the planned purchaser.
Rotate your stock. Keep your stock fresh by working with your sales rep to rotate the product, and ensure stale-dated packages are removed.
Source: Insights provided by The Great Canadian Meat Company