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American consumers maintain trends in meat buying practices

Plant-based meat alternatives are a small but fast-growing market with higher interest in blended plant/meat items
cutting raw meat shutterstock

Convenience and health interests continue to underpin trends in the American retail meat industry, according to the annual Power of Meat trends study.

Meal kits introduce consumers to new meat cuts and kinds of meat with 40 per cent having purchased meal kits in the past year. Quality of the meat matters a lot in the decision to buy again.

Seventy-one per cent agree that meal kits encourage them to try new meat and poultry items.

Convenience-focused meat and poultry saw robust growth in 2018, including value added, 5.1 per cent growth; fully cooked, 2.5 per cent; and frozen, 2.2 per cent.

Plant-based meat alternatives are a small but fast-growing market with higher interest in blended plant/meat items. 

Three-quarters of meat eaters integrate plant-based meat alternatives into their dinner line-up. This segment rings up $878 million in annual sales, up 19 per cent, with sales driven by Generation Z and millennials. 

Blended plant/meat items, such as mushroom burgers, have a higher and greater cross-population appeal, and can be a bridge to the attributes consumers look for, while keeping meat on the plate.

Online grocery shopping grows but online meat purchases lag behind. Thirty-nine per cent of grocery shoppers supplement store visits with online buys with 45 per cent of online shoppers expecting to buy more online.

One per cent of shoppers use online as their primary source of groceries.

Only 21 per cent have purchased meat or poultry online.

Two-thirds of shoppers look for healthy options in their meat and poultry. Traits they seek include lean cuts and protein variety.

Three of every 10 shoppers look for claims about the animal and the planet with younger buyers taking keener interest in these claims.

Fifty-four per cent of shoppers want to see more grass-fed beef in stores with 52 per cent wanting more natural beef and beef free from hormones and antibiotics.

Print ad promotions account for 51 per cent of consumers checking for meat and poultry promotions.

The annual Power of Meat consumer analysis is compiled by food institutes in the United States.

Ron Walter can be reached at