Most consumers who eat beef (91 percent) and pork (66 percent) do so as a center-of-the-plate option at least once a week. However, a sharpened focus on healthful eating and rising commodity prices are impacting consumption. Health is the top consumption deterrent for both beef and pork. Further, more than a fifth of consumers who eat beef entrées say rising beef prices have caused them to dine out less often or order fewer beef entrées at restaurants than they did a year ago. How can operators and suppliers turn the tide?

"Smaller portions and 'value' cuts prepared with unique seasonings, spices, sauces and condiments may help cut costs and spur consumer interest in these proteins," says Kelly Weikel, Director, Consumer Insights at Technomic. "Communicating nutritional content and utilizing health-halo descriptors can help address negative health perceptions and may boost incremental sales, particularly among younger consumers."

Technomic's Center of The Plate: Beef and Pork Consumer Trend Report is one of many topics in its Consumer Trend Report series, offering the most current analysis, insight and opportunities to help grow your business. Below are some highlights:

  • Flavorful spices, glazes, marinades, sauces and condiments can convey a premium aspect to beef and pork entrees that may justify higher price points to consumers.
  • Health-halo descriptors like "lean" and "organic" boost both health and taste perceptions for beef and pork. A majority of consumers (65 percent) find items described as "natural" to be more healthful and 44 percent find it to be tastier, while 84 percent find items described as "lean" to be more healthful, while 43 percent find lean to be tastier.
  • Social responsibility will become more important for beef and pork; many who eat beef and pork place high importance on humane animal treatment (42 and 41 percent, respectively) and country of origin labels (43 percent and 40 percent, respectively).

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Source: Technomic