Rising beef prices and ever-changing health trends have more consumers eating less beef. A recent survey report from Mintel found 39% of U.S. consumers ate less red meat in 2013, than in the prior year.
Mintel found that 90% of those surveyed said they still eat some kind of red meat at least once a month, but more than one-third of the respondents said higher beef prices were the main reason they had turned to other proteins. Just 10% of those surveyed said they ate more beef last year and plan to continue in 2014.
“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. This presents an opportunity for the industry to try to invigorate the market with new products, improved quality and improved functionality,” said Patty Johnson, global food analysts at Mintel.
Johnson said packaging innovation is an area the red meat industry could score some points with consumers, particularly women. More than one-third (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.
Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith recently said consumers today want they they want, preferring fresh over frozen, trading down if they have to, but still demanding the food items be produced responsibly.
He noted a major shift in foodservice promotions of more chicken in their menu offerings, in part because of the value proposition. In the grocery retail space, he said consumers want convenience, honest labeling, the best values they can find as they work to stretch their food dollars further.
USDA reports consumption of beef per person peaked at 94.4 pounds in 1976, but in 2012 it had fallen to 57 pounds, half of that was ground beef. Per capital spending on beef in 2013 was $288.17, up $48 over the past two years.