Despite prevalent health trends encouraging consumers in the US to eat less red meat, and 90% of consumers eating some kind of red meat at least once a month – research from Mintel reveals that 39% of beef and other red meat consumers ate less in 2013 than they did in 2012.
Furthermore, 25% of consumers who eat pork claimed to have eaten less of the meat in 2013 than they did in 2012.
In contrast, only 10% of beef and other red meat eaters are consuming more, and only 13% of pork eaters are consuming more of the meat.
“Health trends motivating consumers to cut fat and cholesterol intake are by far the most dominant factors affecting the red meat market,” says global food analyst Patty Johnson.
“While some consumers are turning away from red meat, in favor of healthier alternatives, there are still many consumers in the US 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.”
About 16% of those surveyed who say they are consuming less red meat are eating less but higher quality red meat.
Johnson says this creates an opportunity to market higher quality meats to consumers.
Innovate meat packaging
Mintel finds 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.
About 35% of women would like to see more resealable 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.
About 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.
“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. The industry also has done little to innovate since the recession and therefore has offered consumers little to get excited about,” says Johnson
“This presents an opportunity for the industry to try to invigorate the market with new products, improved quality and improved functionality.”