STATE OF FRESH MEAT
Plant-based may draw some headlines and fans,
but meat is still at the center of consumers’ diets,
if not their plates.
Research released earlier this fall from New York- based Nielsen reveals that nearly half of con- sumers eat a form of protein with every meal. Animal-based proteins, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey and seafood, still tops over plant-based proteins in the U.S., as well as well as in neighboring Canada. People in both coun- tries spend more than half of their protein cur- rency on animal protein, per Nielsen’s findings.
As 2018 approaches, protein still has a halo as an
Drivers of Meat Consumption
on-trend food source. According to Nielsen’s research,
products labeled as an “excellent source of protein” grew
12% in the last year, while those listed as a “good source
of protein” grew 4%. More than a third (35%) of U.S.
households report they follow a specific protein-focused
diet such as high-protein, Paleo or low-carb.
Longtime drivers of taste and familiarity propel much
of consumers’ meat-based diets. At the same time,
many people associate eating animal protein with being
healthy, according to Nielsen’s research. More than a
third of respondents in Nielsen’s study say that those
who don’t (or won’t) eat meat are missing out on certain
nutrients, while many say that eating unprocessed meat
is “good for you.”
Another perennial factor in meat consumption, of
course, is price. In the 2017 economic climate of price
deflation, consumers took advantage of lower prices
while satisfying their meat preferences.
Nielsen’s data confirms such behaviors, with meat volume growing 2% from July 2016 to July 2017 and overall
dollar sales declining at the same rate. Breaking it down
by species, volume sales of fresh beef rose 6%, sales of
fresh turkey edged up 1%, sales of chicken remained flat,
and sales of pork and lamb were down 3% and 4% respectively. Fresh seafood dipped 2% in overall volume, while