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One-Third of Americans Cutting Back on Red Meat

<p>New research from Mintel reveals 90% of consumers eat red meat at least once per month, but 39% ate less in 2013 compared to 2012.</p>

CHICAGOSome say red meat increases the risk for diseases, while others suggest it helps bridge a micronutrient gap across all ages. Either way, consumers' concern for health issues have lead to changing trends within the red meat market, and new research from Mintel reveals 90% of consumers eat red meat at least once per month, but 39% ate less in 2013 compared to 2012.

In addition, 25% of pork consumers claimed to have eaten less pork in 2013 than they did in 2012. However, only 10% of beef and other red meat eaters are eating more, and only 13% of pork consumers are eating more.

Health trends motivating consumers to cut fat and cholesterol intake are by far the most dominant factors affecting the red meat market," said Patty Johnson, global food analyst at Mintel. While some consumers are turning away from red meat in favor of healthier alternatives, there are still a staggering amount of Americans who partake on a regular basis. For many of those who are cutting back, they are very well trading up to a higher quality meat product."

About 16% of those Americans who say they are consuming less red meat are also eating higher quality red meats. Johnson said this creates an opportunity to market higher quality meats to consumers.

While innovation in this category has been low for several years, packaging may be an area for meat manufacturers to innovate, particularly to appeal to women. More than one-third (35%) of women would like to see more resealable packaging, 26% say they want individual-sized portions, and 23% would like to see recipe options on the package.

While health concerns are the top reason consumers are cutting back on red meat, the price of it is certainly another matter of contention. More than half (58%) of consumers say they have noticed the price of red meat increasing in the past 12 months, and 36% say it is too expensive to buy as often as they would like.

The red meat category is facing a difficult future as both health trends and price are working to discourage consumer demand for red meat products," Johnson said. "The industry also has done little to innovate since the recession, and therefore has offered consumers little to get excited about. This presents an opportunity for the industry to try to invigorate the market with new products, improved quality and improved functionality."

For more nutrition and foods trends predicted to make headlines in 2014, visit FPD's Image Gallery: Top 14 Diet Trends for 2014.

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