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Kira Karapetian

By: Kira Karapetian on July 2nd, 2018

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Not Your Father's BBQ


Fourth of July weekend is upon us and Americans across the country are stocking up on their BBQ essentials. But are the ever-popular hot dogs still at the top of the shopping list this year?

Data shows that 67 percent of Americans are prioritizing healthy or socially-conscious food purchases in 2018. In particular, millennials are more concerned about sustainability than older generations: 26 percent compared to 17 percent of Gen Xers. Also consider the myriad of diets and eating plans and diets being followed by shoppers of all ages, from vegan/vegetarian to Keto.

With that in mind, we asked our team of data experts to analyze the Label Insight product and ingredient database to see how easy it would be to find meat options - in particular hot dogs and sausages - that suited the needs for all BBQ attendees this year.

Meat options evolve to meet key dietary concerns

We found that while there’s a meat option for everyone, some diets might be more challenging to shop for than others:

  • For the organic-only set: we found 73 organic hot dog/sausage options. 
  • For guests who prefer “nitrate-free” dogs: Our team identified 193 options currently available in grocery stores across the country. 
  • For the gluten-free crowd: Currently there are more than 3.1 million Americans that follow a gluten-free diet. Surprisingly, we only found 94 sausage and hot dog products that claimed to be gluten free. 
  • For those grilling “alternative meat:” A Nielsen Homespun survey conducted last year found that more than one-third (39 percent) of Americans indicated that they are actively trying to consume more plant-based foods. Luckily, we found 229 non-meat burger options in our database. Popular ingredients in those non-meat burgers have gotten more exotic since early soy and black bean burgers. Now you can find ingredients such as sweet potato/yam, chickpeas, quinoa, mushrooms, cauliflower, beets and hempseed. Surprisingly, we only found 36 choices of vegetarian sausages, brats and franks. 

Do private label or CPG brands best meet consumer demands?

As consumers are increasingly demanding products that better align with their eating preferences and the diets the follow, brands are struggling to meet this need. Private label brands in particular seem well-positioned to quickly meet this demand, and many see it as a competitive advantage to help gain mindshare against more established manufacturer brands.

And shoppers are responding positively to this change.

In fact, according to Nielsen Product Insider (powered by Label Insight), 26 percent of overall meat sales overall (for 52 weeks, ended Feb. 24) were manufacturer brands while 29 percent were private label. In particular, the sales of private label beef products (28 percent) outpaced those from manufacturer brands (14 percent).

Retailers are stepping up their game and delivering new products that fulfill evolving shopper needs. As shoppers place higher importance on the ingredients being used within each product, how the product was sourced, and whether or not it was created sustainably, the quality of product and level of transparency provided become larger key differentiators than the brand itself.

The winners in the end will be the brands who provide the level of information needed to inform and meet the needs of the shopper.