Consumers report reductions in red-meat purchases

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U.S. consumers say they ate less red meat during 2013 compared with the previous year, according to a survey from market-research company Mintel. Price appears to be a major factor, although health concerns also play a role.

According to a Mintel release, 90 percent of consumers reported eating some kind of red meat at least once per month during 2013. But, 39 percent of consumers of beef and other red meats indicated they ate less in 2013 than they did in 2012. Meanwhile, 10 percent of beef and other red meat eaters report eating more of those meats during 2013.

For pork, 25 percent of consumers claimed to have eaten less in 2013 than they did in 2012, and 13 percent say they ate more.

Quoted in the release, Mintel global food analyst Patty Johnson says “Health trends motivating consumers to cut fat and cholesterol intake are by far the most dominant factors affecting the red meat market.” The release, however, does not cite any specific numbers relating to consumer health concerns. I would refer to the full report, but it comes with a price tag of $3,995.01, excluding tax.

The release does, however, include numbers relating to the effect on retail prices on consumer decisions. More than half – 58 percent – of consumers say they have noticed the price of red meat increasing in the past 12 months and 36 percent say it is too expensive to buy as often as they would like. So clearly, record beef prices are playing a role in declining consumption, at least among some consumers.

The release also notes that 16 percent of Americans who say they are consuming less red meat shifting to higher quality red meat.

The release offers some potential solutions to the decline in red meat consumption, suggesting packaging may be an area for meat manufacturers to innovate, particularly to appeal to women. More than one-third of women would like to see more re-sealable packaging, 26 percent say they want individual sized portions and 23 percent would like to see recipe options on the package.

“The red meat category is facing a difficult future, as both health trends and price are working to discourage consumer demand for red meat products,” Johnson says. “The industry also has done little to innovate since the recession and therefore has offered consumers little to get excited about. This presents an opportunity for the industry to try to invigorate the market with new products, improved quality and improved functionality.”

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January, 24, 2014 at 09:18 AM

Yeah, I suppose we could advertise and package our way out of the volume slump. But, seriously, who cares if consumers are purchasing less so long as they are paying higher prices - more than enough to offset lower volume. To tell the truth I have never kept fewer cattle and made made more money. Just keep those prices soaring and let consumers fend for themselves.

January, 24, 2014 at 12:29 PM

What happened to "we must feed the world . . . "?

brett schmidgall    
minier Il  |  January, 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

that's what the hypocrite corn grower association & farm bureau say while they use membership fees to promote cheating through biofuel mandates. maybe they should have kept raising livestock.


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