Friday, January 26, 2007


According to this article, the item that is most often shoplifted from grocery stores is meat.
Meatlifting is a grave problem for food retailers: According to the Food Marketing Institute, meat was the most shoplifted item in America's grocery stores in 2005. (It barely edged out analgesics and was a few percentage points ahead of razor blades and baby formula.) Meat's dubious triumph is due in part to a law enforcement crackdown on methamphetamine use. Meat used to be the shoplifting runner-up to health-and-beauty-care items, a category that includes cough medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in home-cooked meth.
Why do you think this is? Especially given that meat seems like a messy item to steal. The most straightforward answer is that meat is one of the more expensive items in many grocery stores. Are there any other reasons?

(Source: Free Exchange)


Anonymous said...

This seems really odd to me. The fact that people would buy bags full of groceries but then choose to steal some meat in order to save a couple bucks? Meat is one of the more expensive items in the grocery store, and it is rather compact, so it seems like one of the less costly goods to steal.
It does make sense that people would choose meat because it contains methamphetamine. Since the law has cracked down on this, many people are trying to steal meat in order to obtain some methamphetamine.
It also may be the shape of meat. Usually it is flat and square, meaning that it can easily be stowed under a jacket or in a purse. People try to steal things with the lowest cost to them. Stealing an expensive wine bottle would be more difficult and would have a higher cost.

Anonymous said...

i think one of the primary reasons that meat is stolen is because it has a very low risk of being detected. i agree with hope. most packaged meats come in a relatively flat styrofoam tray that is rectangular. this would be simple to toss into a purse these considering how big most womens purses are. i also think that most people would agree that they would never see any sort of metal bar in the meat tray to allow a metal detector to scan it. the metal could contaminate the meat and would be costly to put on in every meat package. lastly, meat doesnt make noise when you walk such as a bottle of advil/pills of a bag of potato chips or anything else with a bag as a package.

-Austin Lintault

Anonymous said...

oh and i disagree with what hope said about the meth. the reason people are stealing the meat is because you CANT simply go and steal sudafed or other ephedrines without going behind the counter so people are stealing the meat instead. meat has nothing to do with making meth...

-austin lintault

Anonymous said...

I would think that one of the main reason to steal meat would be that certain type of meats would be extremely expensive. It doesn't matter how rich you are, people will always want to save money, whether it be a $1 discount coupon, or the five-finger discount, people will always want to save money, and since meat has no security tags, it becomes an essentially a low-risk item to steal. Putting expensive meats behind a counter will not solve the problem, as then there would not be any impulse shopping as there are a lot of those around the world than meat stealers. A solution would be to place a security tag on meats as clothing stores do with their goods, and have a security officer standby the entrance/exit to check on alarms. this will greatly deter any future meatliftings.

-Gautam Rao

Anonymous said...

People need food. Reading this I had to ask myself…..what is a better thing to steal if I were hungry? Meat is the perfect solution to a hungry stomach, and I completely see why one would steal it. Looking at the alternatives, a package of meat is easy to steal, has good nutritional value, and provides an easy meal for someone in need. I hardly think a potato would fill the void. On the methamphetamine issue, I do not think that the increase in meat theft is a direct result, the people trying to make meth are not the same people stealing meat. Instead of frowning upon those who have to resort to stealing a piece of meat to support themselves and sometimes their families, we should help these people. In response to the other posts, I do not think meat is any easier to steal, and we have to keep in mind that the people stealing are those that really need it. I believe that these are people that are truly in need, and do not take any pride in having to steal the most basic of necessities like food to survive. How many people do you think steal meat for the glory of it? Overall, the solution to this problem is one of two things, help those in need or sell bigger packages of meat.
Ryan Wilson

Anonymous said...

The fact that people would steal the meat, yet buy the groceries seems very smart to me. In the article it states that some companies are thinking of placing sensors in the meat, but it is completlely true that if a person walked out (who had checked out) and the sensor beeped, nice times out of ten, the person would just walk out without being inspected. However, the sensor is a a good idea, only if they had a way to set off the sensor maybe with vibration? to detect the item, but then again, who really wants to stand at the door to examine all stolen (or faulty sensored) meat packages. I was very suprised to find that meat was number one and medicine (or drugstore items) a close second, but I believed the drug business to be much more prevalent than wanting the daily dose of protein. But maybe the priorities of Americans are changing, maybe its more important to indulge our daily diets then to fic our daily drug habits, or atleast we can hope so.

-Sara Diehl