“Health authorities such as the American Heart Association continue to encourage consumption of poultry and seafood as alternatives to red meat,” according to the report.
Looking at US per capita consumption volume growth from 2011-2016, pork led the protein pack with a 2% increase thanks to trendy food items such as pulled pork and bacon. In second place was chicken with 1.5%, followed by turkey with 0.1%.
At the tail end was beef and veal, where volume in the same time period fell by 0.6%. “The run-up in beef prices over much of the 2011-2016 period contributed to an ongoing shift in consumption patterns toward poultry prompted by persistent concerns over the health impacts of red meat,” the report continued.
Despite volume decline, value gains for beef
However, beef experienced value gains as many consumers traded quantity for quality. “Aided by gains in disposable personal income, consumers showed an increasing willingness to focus their purchases on premium products such as organic, grass-fed beef,” according to the report.
Premiumization was identified as a key trend driving retail sales in the meat and poultry market as a whole. The positioning of meat and poultry as a natural and healthy also is invigorating the market, playing into trends like the Paleo diet, which places a greater emphasis on the importance of dietary protein.
In its report, Packaged Facts forecasted that total retail sales of meat, poultry and meat substitutes to be just shy of $100 billion in 2021. Due to its higher price point, meat will dominate dollar sales despite still trailing poultry in per-capita consumption volume, while meat substitutes will account for less than $2 billion of the projected total.
“Meat continues to evolve and be re-evaluated by consumers in the wake of years of consciousness-raising on several topics, including humane animal treatment, meat processing, and nutrition,” said research director for Packaged Facts David Sprinkle.