Last month, the National Pork Board (NPB) re-set the meat case in 35 Hy-Vee stores across Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska to test if ground pork placement could increase overall meat department sales.
The Checkoff-funded test-and-learn project is a collaborative effort with the regional grocery chain, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Minnesota Pork Board and Nebraska Pork Producers Association.
NPB said early feedback has been positive from Hy-Vee meat department managers. 210 Analytics, NPB’s third-party data analytics resource, showed last month’s nationwide sales revenue for ground pork was up nearly 23% compared to July 2019, and up just slightly from the uniquely strong sales last year. Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics LLC, reported that pork and chicken were the only two proteins in July that were able to grow year-over-year in the ground category, which also included meat alternatives.
The test will run through mid-November, according to the NPB.
Ground pork sales surged last year during the pandemic, with weekly increases from March 1 ranging from 69% growth early in the pandemic buying period to 22% growth for the week ending July 26. From March through the end of July in 2020, ground pork sales were up 27%, and 45% of households purchasing ground pork during this time had not purchased it in the previous 12 months.
Checkoff-funded research showed that about 50% of ground pork purchases came from new households during the pandemic with 9 out of 10 consumers likely to purchase it again.
During that time, ground pork also brought in the highest percentage of new shoppers to the ground segment compared to other ground meats.