The meat department is one of the most important categories for many food retailers. A successful meat department can help a store differentiate itself from the competition and be a significant driver of sales and foot traffic, according to “The 2016 Power of Meat,” a report produced by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Arlington, Va., and North American Meat Institute (NAMI), Washington, D.C.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

Promotions are a key element to solidifying sales among primary shoppers and attracting patrons of other channels. Forty-seven percent of shoppers decide on the meat/poultry purchase before they reach the supermarket.

Connecting with Millennials is crucial for traditional formats to retain the meat dollar. This group has a higher propensity to occasionally shop alternative channels like farmers’ markets and online.

Price per pound, along with total package price, dominates the purchase decision tree.

A growing consumer desire for transparency in the product and the production process is driving sales gains.

Six in 10 shoppers changed their meat/poultry purchases over 2015 by spending more, less or differently.

Convenience meat/poultry items are growing, but the category needs careful consideration of program investments at the store level.

Available, friendly and knowledgeable associates in the meat department can be a big differentiator for food retailers.

The meat case provides everyday convenience for the majority of purchases—this is where 70% of meat/poultry purchases are made.

Shoppers’ suggestions for improving the meat department can be a key factor to optimizing meat department sales.