Right-Sizing Meats and Poultry for Greater Consumer Appeal
As a processor, you already know how important it is to innovate and differentiate your product line to meet demand and gain an edge on the competition.
One innovation opportunity that can open up new markets is extending the range of portion sizes offered for meats and poultry. More specifically, this means offering smaller portions that match the ways consumers are preparing and enjoying meats and poultry.
It’s clear that more consumers are seeking out smaller portions to accommodate their needs and make preparation faster. For example, one study, referred to in a recent Provisioner Online article, found that more than half of shoppers believed portion control had an influence on their purchasing. Two key groups of consumers in particular have good reason to seek out smaller portions when it comes to meat and poultry: Baby Boomers generally have fewer people living in their households than they once did, and may have less desire to buy large portions. For similar reasons, younger consumers also want to purchase smaller cuts better matched to their lifestyle and budget.
Additionally, many consumers want the meat and poultry products they buy to be easy to prepare yet still offer interesting flavor profiles. The prospect of having to eat leftovers from a large roast or poultry item also has become distinctly less appealing, especially when consumers can purchase portions that can be consumed in one meal or sitting.
While addressing these demands may require some processing or equipment changes, it also provides an opportunity to participate in a growing market. And Flavorseal can make the process easy when it comes to suggesting and specifying process solutions.
How Flavorseal Responds to the Right-Sizing Trend
Processors can address both portioning and convenience concerns by offering value-added packaging and sizing, and in some cases, pre-seasoned products, that answer consumers’ demand for right-sized, flavorful products. It may be as simple as introducing 3-pound, pre-seasoned cuts of cooked or unprocessed proteins packaged in ovenable film, in place of 6- to 8-pound roasts, hams or poultry items.
Processors interested in shifting existing product lines to produce smaller sizes will find a variety of solutions from Flavorseal that cater to these changes. Our innovative products are designed to accommodate the changing needs of consumers while also helping processors use packaging methods to support smaller portion sizes.
For example, a processor currently manufacturing a large spiral-sliced bone-in ham may typically use process netting to add texture while cooking the product before chilling, slicing and halving the item before shrink packaging. This might result in two 8- or 9-pound halves, perfect for consumption at a large gathering, but not necessarily ideal for smaller households or everyday meals.
By switching to a 7- or 8-pound boneless ham, the processor could still utilize process netting to create a distinctive pattern on the ham’s surface, then cook and chill the product before intact-slicing and halving for packaging. This would result in two 3- to 4-pound hams that would be appropriate anytime for smaller families or individuals, and highly appealing in terms of cost and convenience.
In these examples, the packaging makes the difference. Smaller portion sizes open up a world of packaging options, from traditional pouches and shrink bags to forming and non-forming thermoforming roll stock, which can reduce waste and increase the number of packages filled per minute.
For added convenience, processors also can use ovenable or cook-in packaging film, resulting in products that can go from the store to the cooler to the oven, all in the same packaging.
Processors currently using thermoforming film or roll stock for packaging can modify lines to produce higher numbers of smaller weight products by adjusting the number of pockets produced on the line. They may opt to package 3- to 4-pound products in ovenable pockets or trays in place of fewer 6- to 8- pound items. Using ovenable film adds extra convenience, allowing the consumer to simply vent the top before baking the product right in the package. And using the same material for both the top and bottom of the package makes for easier recycling of the excess film.
Processors also can use pouches or bags to create smaller portion sizes. These are simple to incorporate from an equipment standpoint, and Flavorseal offers both products in a wide variety of sizes and gauges to accommodate many products and portion sizes.
Smaller portion-sized products also offer a unique opportunity for processors to expand their product line with assorted flavor profiles. Products like Flavorseal’s Seasoning Transfer Sheets and Seasoning Transfer Bags make it easy to apply custom-blend seasonings to products on the production line without adding multiple steps. For example, by placing a custom-cut seasoning sheet into thermoforming pockets just before the protein is inserted, the seasoning and flavors are applied to meats and poultry and become part of the product. And switching from one flavor profile to another can be as simple as switching out the sheets or bags.
Seasoning Transfer Bags provide similar flavor flexibility for smaller portions. Processors can boost convenience even further by combining cook-in or ovenable shrink bags with Seasoning Transfer Technology, creating pre-seasoned, oven-ready products.
How We Help Processors Right-Size Products
Flavorseal offers one-stop convenience when it comes to identifying the best sizing and flavor options as well as viable equipment solutions to produce convenient, flavorful and right-sized protein products.
Tap into Flavorseal’s team of Technical Specialists, who can assist with finding solutions related to seasoning, netting, packaging and labeling. Our Technical Specialists also help with product trials, supervising equipment runs and specifying products like shrink bags, pouches and thermoforming film.
By responding to the trend for smaller portion sizes, processors will find it’s easy to offer more product options when it comes to meal prep, portioning and flavor. These options also make it more appealing for consumers to try out new flavors without having to commit to a larger product.
To explore options, simply get in touch with Flavorseal’s Technical Team for additional details, to set up a trial run, or continue the conversation.