Supermarkets stand to benefit greatly from the future of refrigerated meat cases

Commercial refrigerated meat cases combine two essential elements of fresh grocery sales: visibility and protection. Over time, however, meat cases can lose their ability to maintain these values and eventually pass beyond the point of no return.

For supermarkets and grocers on the cusp of a necessary meat case replacement, nothing matters more than finding the right equipment to benefit their business, align merchandising with the most recent consumer trends and demonstrate superiority over competitors in terms of quality.

Has your meat case spoiled your sale potential? When searching around for new equipment, be sure to mull over these important ideas:

1. Modern display options
As we said, meat cases show off the quality of the food within. Customers browse for the cuts they want according to size and coloring. Meat cases that fail to put products in a good light can hurt consumer confidence.

And we mean “good light” literally. Depending on the type of bulbs meat case manufacturers use, meat case display lights can tint the deep red tones of beef into a pale, almost sickly pink-orange. Carnivores of the world agree: That’s not all that appetizing.

Modern meat cases, like those powered by Promolux LED technology, show the true colors of commercial meat products and accentuate marbling meat lovers salivate over.

“U.S. supermarkets spend an average of $200,000 annually on energy.”

2. Energy efficiency
According to Energy Star, U.S. supermarkets spend an average of $200,000 annually on energy, or around $4 per square foot for both refrigeration and electricity. No doubt these expenses can cut heavily into profits. Since meat sales represent a boon to a supermarket’s overall revenue, the equipment supporting meat should hold its own when it comes to energy efficiency.

Meat cases with LED lighting, for example, can help mitigate electricity costs while adding to the consumer experience.

3. Self-service vs. staffing
Supermarkets have begun increasing the presence of self-service refrigerated casing throughout their supermarkets, in part, because of a need to respond to changes in employment.

Traditionally, most meat, deli and prepared foods departments tend to be “over the counter” operations requiring a full-service staff of meat cutters, apprentices and other trained customer service professionals. But as these employees retire, supermarkets fall victim to hiring gaps, drawing out the recruitment process, costing considerable money and resulting in undertrained staff filling the void.

Self-service refrigerated meat cases, therefore, can be a long-term solution to businesses challenged by a lack of trained employees. When meat cutters spend less one-on-one time with customers, they can devote more time to creating better goods behind the counter that customers can select themselves from refrigerated cases.

4. Value-added products
Lastly, as supermarket decision-makers mull over refrigerated cases, they should ask themselves: How will this purchase up the ante for our butcher block goods? In an interview with The Shelby Report, Emily Coburn, vice president of merchandising for the Coburn’s grocery chain, spelled out her reason for onboarding more self-service meat cases.

“We’re seeing more of a shift to the service case, because people are seeking more of the value-added product,” she said.

Deviating from legacy paradigms, the new generation of supermarket specialty departments turns to portioned, vacuum-sealed products in a self-service case. Vacuum seals keep gourmet hamburgers and other ready-made meals fresher for longer and can come grill-ready rather than only offering raw, unseasoned meat. These goods can also be frozen immediately as they are and won’t require repackaging once consumers arrive at home. Moreover, they provide consumers with the freedom to shop at their own pace and utilize portion pricing to buy exactly what they want, no more no less.