"eat mor chikn" Only Making Slight Dent

New research from Mintel shows that 39% of beef and other red meat consumers ate less in 2013 than they did in 2012. But despite prevalent health trends encouraging consumers to eat less red meat, 90% of consumers are eating some kind of red meat at least once a month.

In fact, 25% of pork consumers claimed to have eaten less less pork in 2013 than they did in 2012. In contrast, only 10% of beef and other red meat eaters are eating more, and only 13% of pork consumers are eating more. 16% of those Americans who say they are consuming less red meat are eating less, but higher quality.

Patty Johnson, global food analyst at Mintel, reports that “… health trends motivating consumers to cut fat and cholesterol intake are by far the most dominant factors affecting the red meat market, though some consumers are turning away from red meat, in favor of healthier alternatives, there are still a staggering amount of Americans who partake on a regular basis. For many of those who are cutting back they are very well trading up to a higher quality meat product.”

While innovation in this category has been low for several years, packaging may be an area for meat manufacturers to innovate, particularly to appeal to women. 35% of women would like to see more re-sealable packaging, 26% say they want individual sized portions, and 23% would like to see recipe options on the package.

While health concerns are the top reason consumers are cutting back on red meat, the price of it is certainly another matter of contention, says the report. 58% of consumers say they have noticed the price of red meat increasing in the past 12 months and 36% say it is too expensive to buy as often as they would like.

“… health trends and price are working to discourage consumer demand for red meat products… (but) the industry also has done little to innovate… offered little (for consumers) to get excited about… (a marketing) opportunity for the industry… “ concludes Patty Johnson.

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