Driving Meat Sales with Cooking Technology
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Many consumers lack confidence when it comes to selecting and preparing a variety of meat and poultry products, but at the same time they are interested in finding and trying new, easy-to-prepare recipes. Technology may provide solutions in the form of small appliances and expert advice. Here is a review of popular cooking technologies with suggested promotional opportunities:
Pressure Cooker (Ex. Instant Pot):
- Process: An electric pressure cooker with on outer pot, inner pot and cover that work together.
- Benefits: Reduces cooking time and energy usage up to 70%; retains nutrients; creates tender meat/poultry.
- Best Uses: Braised meats; stews and soups; curries and barbecue.
- Do not use for: Crunchy, browned foods; quick sautéed dished; steaks.
- Promotional Idea: Create a fall tailgating display in the meat department with all the ingredients needed for this easy Chunky Beef Chili recipe made in the Instant Pot. Secure promo pricing and create excitement in ad and through social media and demos.
- Process: Acts like a countertop convection oven with the top holding a heating mechanism and a fan. Hot air rushes down and around food in a fryer-style basket making food crisp.
- Benefits: Low-fat meals; hands-free cooking; easy clean up
- Best Uses: Chicken breasts and thighs; turkey tenderloin; whole chicken; chops; steaks (such as New York Strip or Ribeye); burgers; meatloaf; roasts
- Do not use for: Batter coated foods
- Promotional Idea: Show how meat/poultry can have a healthful role in a heart healthy diet by demonstrating how the air fryer can create delicious “fried” recipe options with a Facebook live segment or in-store demo.
- Process: The sous-vide cooker is attached to a pot of water and time/temperature are set; food is sealed in an air-tight plastic bag and placed in water; meat is finished by searing, grilling or broiling.
- Benefits: Precise time and temp provides consistent results and meat is moist and tender.
- Best Uses: Poultry breast/thighs; Most cuts of meat including chops, tenderloin, steaks, roasts and ribs.
- Do not use for: Meat that is already mechanically tenderized.
- Promotional Idea: Use the sous-vide technology to promote easy family meals by cooking once and eating twice.
ComScore estimates that more than 50% of searches will be voice-based by 2020 and smart speaker users are searching for a lot of cooking guidance. Become familiar with the meat cooking skills offered via Google Home and Amazon Alexa so you can promote this assistance to your shoppers.
Promotional Idea: Introduce your customers to Chuck Knows Beef with a web article, demo or social post. Chuck is an all-knowing beef expert powered by Google Artificial Intelligence and he can be accessed via home computer, mobile phone, Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant. Shoppers can access Chuck from your meat department or their kitchen to become more confident with beef selection and preparation. For example, a customer could ask for a shredded beef recipe to prepare in their pressure cooker, or the best beef cuts for sous vide cooking.
Disclosure: I am a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Beef Expert Bureau, which is funded by the Beef Checkoff.