Due to health concerns and high prices, about 39% of Americans ate less red meat in 2013 than they consumed in 2012, according to a new report from research firm Mintel.
Among pork consumers, 25% said that they cut their intake in 2013. Another 13% of pork consumers reported increased consumption, and 10% of beef and other red meat eaters consumed more.
Health concerns are the top motivator for cutting down on red meat as Americans seek to reduce their fat and cholesterol intake, Mintel food analyst Patty Johnson said. Not only are many people eating less red meat but they are also opting for higher quality products: 16% of respondents who had cut down said that they were eating less but higher quality red meat.
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Another major factor driving down consumption is price, Johnson went on to add. According to 58% of consumers, red meat prices have gone up in the past year and 36% cannot afford to buy red meat as often as they want.
Johnson also noted that innovation had been on the backburner since the recession, meaning that the meat industry has failed to keep consumers interested. But this also opens up opportunities to galvanize the market through the launch of new products, quality improvement and better functionality. Packaging is an area where meat producers can benefit from innovation, especially if they target women. Mintel found that 35% of women want more resealable packaging, 26% prefer individual sized portions and 23% want packages featuring recipe options.