For beef producers looking to begin or expand a direct-to-consumer business model, start by asking yourself some questions. That’s what Michael Uetz, co-founder of the meat-oriented marketing firm Midan Marketing, told Wagyu breeders.

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Burt Rutherford owns Rangeview Strategies, an ag-based communications company in Wheat Ridge, Col...

Speaking during the recent World Wagyu Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Uetz encouraged Wagyu breeders to understand their consumer target. “Based on what it is you are providing to the marketplace, who specifically is your target and what drives them to purchase? Why should they pick your product up? That’s what we need to consider every day.”

Sound advice, that, given that Wagyu breeders – more than beef producers from any other group – sell their beef directly to consumers, grocery stores and restaurants. To that end, Uetz detailed updated results of meat consumer segmentation research the marketing agency began in 2016.

The first consumer segment is Connected Trendsetters. “And they truly are just that. They’re connected in that they are addicted to digital.” This group is constantly online and constantly looking for information, he said.

In general, this group is younger. “They’re very experimental. They love to cook; they love to try different proteins. And they’re very interested in the alternative protein space,” he told Wagyu breeders. “So we’ve got some competition in their mindset on why they buy beef versus why not try the newest alternative product.”


This consumer group is highly engaged and can be reached online with recommendations, he said. “This is a group I would say you really need to be interested in because they are really interested in what’s new and exciting, and they share that information with all their contacts once they’ve tried it.”

The second consumer group is dubbed Claim Seekers. “It tends to be more females and is a quarter of the meat-consuming population,” Uetz said. “So more and more, consumers are interested in what we’re doing, and they want all the details.”

In response, beef producers are providing more and more label claims. “The challenge for the consumer is not to get overwhelmed in the claims we’re serving up for them to understand exactly what it is we’re trying to get across to them.”

This group is driven by health for themselves and their family, as well as by the health of the animals that produce the meat and the health of the environment. “They’re very aware and are looking for signs of engagement in providing details about how healthful the product is and what was done in the caretaking of the animals and the environment. They are specifically focused on looking on the package for claim callouts,” he said.

This group tends to move away from beef and pork toward more poultry. “That’s our challenge. Keep them focused on our product, keep them in our space.”

The next group is Convenience Chasers. “It tends to be more of a male personality, and they are all about convenience. They are always looking for something quick and easy,” Uetz told Wagyu breeders. “They don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of cooking. They believe, in many cases, that meat takes too long to cook during a weekday.”

Thus, they are looking for shortcuts. “They are looking for value-added; they are looking for something that’s further prepared. They’re looking for meal kits, something that’s going to be quick and easy,” he said.

This group loves beef, but they’re all about getting meat on the table as quickly as possible. “They tend to be big online purchasers,” he said, with 44% of the group saying they shop online specifically because it’s convenient.

The fourth group is Committed Carnivores. “This group is all about their love and passion for meat,” Uetz said. “They can’t imagine life without meat. They also believe that their entire family is really about loving meat. They love to cook it at home and serve their family the best meal they can.”

Uetz reminded Wagyu breeders to recall what happened during COVID-19. “Everybody started eating at home. They realized they have a family, that they actually have a dining room table and they spend time at it. Through that process, this group in particular continues to hold on to the values they recognized when they found themselves in that situation,” he said.

The fifth group is called Classic Palates. For them, meat is a staple. “It’s always there, but they don’t have a passion about the product,” he said. “It’s just something they’ve always purchased, and they’re always going to have it as part of their meal,” he added.

“I think the biggest opportunity for our industry is with the Connected Trendsetters and the Claim Seekers segments,” Uetz said. “That’s the space we need to really get to know better and live in when we talk about marketing our product.”

This was originally published by the American Wagyu Association.