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Benefits of e-commerce for small and large poultry processors

Poultry processors – whether large or small – can gain new customers and increase business by capitalizing on a consumer shift toward e-commerce.

“This is not going away. People are going to buy more and more online,” said Katie Olthoff, the Co-Founder and Director of Marketing and Vendor Relations for ChopLocal, an online marketplace that sells poultry, meat and seafood products from vendors in three Midwest states and hopes to have vendors across the country in the future.

E-commerce accelerated in a major way throughout the pandemic. Previously, shelf-stable goods were the products most likely to be purchased online. That changed in 2020 as consumers sought to maintain social distancing and turned to online options as a solution for meat and other grocery needs.

Connecting consumers to local farmers

Online marketplaces can help connect consumers with local small to midsize farmers and butchers.

“We really see this as an opportunity to scale up some of the direct marketing of poultry that goes straight from the farmer to the end user. Right now, one of the biggest challenges that we have is that it’s really hard to find processing for poultry,” Olthoff said.

Gain feedback quickly

For larger processors, online can be a way to test new products at a smaller scale and get consumer feedback quickly before bringing them to market.

“When you’re working at a larger company, it could take a long time to get a new product from start to finish, launch the marketing campaign, that sort of thing. It’s a huge investment to launch a new product or a new line,” Olthoff said.

An alternative to meat alternatives

E-commerce also offers an opportunity for the industry to combat the growing interest in meat alternatives, Olthoff said.

Advocates of plant-based protein often perceive these products as healthier and better for the environment.

“We see that they also believe that buying directly from a farmer kind of fulfills these same values, so it gives them an alternative if they want the real meat,” she explained.

Par Elizabeth Doughman (09/07/2021)

Source :

Photo : Tianyi Ma Wion (

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