Consumers prefer organic, local meat and cage-free poultry

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Butcherbox is another trusted source for better-for-you says Saage Insights. Photo: Butcherbox
Butcherbox is another trusted source for better-for-you says Saage Insights. Photo: Butcherbox

Related tags Organic Poultry Butcher cage-free

Consumers are turning to ‘Conscious Consumption’ following the COVID-19 pandemic, driving interest in organic, local, cruelty-free products, according to Saage Insights.

The ethnographic research firm, based in New York, recently completed a study diving into the impact of covid-19 and spoke with consumers across the US to find out how people are living, socializing, eating, drinking, and purchasing in 2020, and anticipate how these new patterns will impact the future. 

Purchasing behaviours

It found the COVID-19 pandemic has upended consumers’ lives, causing many to overhaul their purchasing behaviors, accelerate their adoption of technologies, reconsider their values, and learn new ways of communicating. 

Consumers are highly aware of the supply chain issues and challenges for meat processing plants during COVID. Many believe organic meat is safer for their families, and that the animals are treated more humanely,​” said Carla Avruch, co-founder, Saage Insights. 

They say that they are paying more attention to the types of meat and sourcing for their meat products.​  

Some are turning to local butcher shops or seeking out local products at farms nearby. Butcherbox is another trusted source for better-for-you and better-for-the-world meats. Key phrases we heard that resonate with them include organic, local and, in relation to poultry and eggs, cage-free​.” 

Habit shifts

Avruch added, as shelter-in-place orders lift, the impact of these habit shifts will continue to influence consumer behavior. These include:

            ●  Quickly adopting new digital platforms: from ‘going out’ to see live-streamed shows to weekly zoom hangs with friends, consumers are living their lives online. 

            ●  Seeking convenience: apps and services such as subscription food boxes and meal kits are on the rise. While consumers have reservations about Amazon, citing its bad treatment of workers, they are ordering from the website more than ever. 

            ●  Conscious consumption becoming the norm: they are well informed on everything from supply chain issues to workers’ rights. Many are aware that they can influence social, environmental and political issues through their purchases. Fair wages, zero waste, reduced packaging, organic and local are all terms that resonate with them. 

            ●  Calculated, frugal shoppers: essentials such as groceries are planned with lists, while non-essential goods have fallen off their radar for the most part during the crisis. 

            ●  Strong interest in better-for-me food and beverage: the public health crisis is more fuel for the growing wellness segment. Many mentioned that organic foods are safer and more healthful. 

The About Shifting Habits: 2020 Snapshot Report was conducted from May 4-9, 2020, to explore shifting consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic and Saage Insights recruited 18 consumers across the US, split into four demographics: Gen Z (4), 
Millennial (4), Gen X (6), and Boomer (4). 

The gender split included 10 women, 7 men, and 1 non-binary individual. Interviewees spanned the following markets: California, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Georgia. 

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