Consumer Sentiments - Food Makeup (Part 1)
Consumers have become increasingly concerned with the origins and production of their food. 92% of US consumers report that it is somewhat or very important to know where their food is coming from. In addition, when it comes to meat consumers are demanding 'clean' meat, and there is a trend to choose grass-fed beef which is particularly high in omega-3.
— Consumer Sentiments on Meat Production
It is becoming increasingly important to consumers to know more about the origins of their food. In fact, 92% of US consumers reported that it is somewhat or very important to know where their food is coming from. A recent survey also found that "nearly all respondents (94 percent) said that it is important to them that the brands and manufacturers they purchase products from are transparent about what is in their food and how it is made."
US consumers are becoming less trusting of the food industry when it comes to meat, with only 33% saying that they are confident in the safety of the food they eat, which have massively reduced from 47% in 2017. This distrust and increased awareness is propelling consumer demand for more information.
There are current trends for consumers to seek out 'clean' meat, with meat being labeled as natural, antibiotic-free and hormone-free showing rapid growth over that of conventional meat. Growth of each product is as follows:
Conventional meat - 4.6%
Natural - 14.6%
Antibiotic-free - 28.7%
Hormone-free - 28.6%
Organic - 44%
This shows that in general, consumers are caring more and more about how their meat is produced, and they are increasingly making choices to buy products that are 'healthier'. In addition, it shows that consumers are concerned with what their meat is fed, they particularly do not want to eat meat that has been fed antibiotics or hormones.
— Consumer Sentiments Specific to Meat fed With Omega-3 Feeds
We know that there is a strong demand from consumers for omega-3 in general, given that the global omega-3 market is expected to reach $3.01 billion by 2022. Recently there have been reports linking omega-3 enriched meat to consumer health benefits, linked with lower risks of heart and brain disease. In general, consumers view omega-3 has healthy, and seek to include it in their diet. In fact, studies show that 70% of shoppers view omega-3 fatty acids as healthy.
When it comes to meat, much of the omega-3 conversation has been related to what the cattle are fed on. In particular, research has proven that grass-fed cattle contain a higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids.
Health experts have long recommended consuming oily fish in order to reap the benefits of consuming omega 3, such as "reduced incidence of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer and improved brain health, vision, muscle and joint health". Now, people have another option instead of oily fish, they are turning to grass-fed beef. Given that there is a trend for consumers to seek out meats that they view as healthier, we can infer that due to the fact that they see omega-3 as healthy that this may motivate them to buy meat fed with omega-3.
In addition, we are seeing statistical evidence to prove that the demand for grass-fed beef (omega-3 fed) is increasing. Research by Mintel has found that 79% of people who eat burgers think of grass-fed beef is higher quality than regular beef. This has lead to 43% of burger eaters claiming that they want more grass-fed burgers on restaurant menus.
In addition, further research has shown that demand for grass-fed beef is growing at an annual rate of 25-30%, as demand for traditional beef declines. In 2016 sales of labeled fresh grass-fed beef generated $272 million in annual revenue. This was a huge increase on the $17 million in revenue generated in 2012.
Finally, I found that while the grass-fed trend is growing, there is still much room for expansion. Currently, only 19% of consumers report only having a general idea of what grass-fed means.
To sum up, I have found that knowing how food is made and where it comes from has become increasingly important to consumers, so that now almost all would agree that they want this information. Consumers are staying away from products that they see as unhealthy, and when it comes to meat they are increasingly choosing products that are natural, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and organic. Finally, I have found that grass-fed beef is now a trend, as research recently found it to be high in omega-3. Demand for grass-fed beef has been growing rapidly at an annual rate of 25-30%.