Its 10th annual Power of Meat report examines trends from the eyes of the shopper, covering health and wellness trends for the first time.
It revealed that 79% of shoppers made either some or a lot of effort into making sure they made nutritious and balanced choices, when it came to the meat and poultry products they consumed. However price and convenience were still ranked above nutrition, when it came to importance for consumers.
Seventy-five per cent of respondents said price was the greatest challenge to making nutritious and healthful meat and poultry choices, with five in 10 regularly buying lean cuts, and four in 10 frequently limiting portion size and second helpings.
Perceptions about the nutritional benefits of red meat versus poultry varied, with beef, pork and lamb valued for nutrients such as iron and protein, following by their role in balanced diet. Meanwhile, consumers valued the role poultry plays in a balanced diet above its nutrient value.
Barry Carpenter, president and chief executive of NAMI, said: "Whether it’s protein for developing, maintaining and repairing muscles, Vitamin B12 for normal metabolism and mental clarity or iron for its variety of roles in the body, meat and poultry are a key part of a balanced diet.
"Consumers recognise this and, as an industry, we’re striving to offer a wide range of fresh and processed products to help Americans meet their nutrition goals."
The report also found that shoppers were open to switching between proteins, cuts and brands, due to the influence of price on their purchasing decisions. The numbers of consumers buying value-added products was growing but was a narrow segment, with 25% stating they bought these types of products sometimes or regularly. However, 21% said cost put them off, while 46% preferred to prepare items themselves.