It was only a handful of years ago that the meat processing industry experienced the pink slime incident. But, it didn’t take a Special Ops team to reinvent the category and fill it with life.
That’s because a wider use of evidence-based food safety interventions on farms and feedlots are significantly reducing the risk of people getting sick from contaminated meat and poultry, according to a report released The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia.
A variety of pre-harvest interventions—ranging from ensuring that water and feed are clean to administering vaccines and other preventive treatments—can significantly reduce the risk that bacteria harmful to humans will infect food animals, the study says.
With new life, the spark is back.
In fact, the meat, poultry and seafood industry is experiencing a global boom, according to the “2017 Trends Shaping Meat, Poultry and Seafood Market Segment report,” produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, Reston, Va. Factors influencing this boom include population gains; increased demand for meat, poultry and seafood; growth in foodservice; and export opportunities. And, sanitation concerns, meeting global demand and minimizing labor costs are the top-of-mind trends shaping the current landscape of the meat, poultry and seafood markets.
Meanwhile, generations view protein differently, with older generations more concerned about the health benefits of protein and younger generations caring about exercise recovery and feeling full, according to research conducted by Acosta, Jacksonville, Fla.
Case in point: 81% of Millennials, 74% of Gen X, 66% of Boomers and 50% of Silents said protein content is extremely or very influential when making grocery store purchases, outlines the report, “2018 Progressing Protein Palates.”
The study also reveals that 18% of shoppers are buying more fresh meat vs. last year, 12% are buying less, mainly due to price and striving to eat healthier, either for themselves or their family and 41% of Millennials are buying more fresh meat vs. a year ago, more than all other generations combined. Beef and chicken dominate, making up 70% of all fresh meat sold, but 71% of shoppers who purchase plant-based meat alternatives also eat meat.
Meat-eaters are interested in alternative diets that are either less focused on meats or do not contain meat at all. Twenty-six percent of Millennials are already vegetarian/vegan, the study says.
Additionally, almost a third of consumers say they would be happy to eat so-called “cultured meat,” with vegans being the group most likely to do so, according to new research.
Ingredient Communications, UK, commissioned Surveygoo, UK, to conduct an online survey of 1,000 consumers in the UK and United States. Respondents were told that cultured meat was real meat grown from cells in a laboratory and not sourced from animals. They were then asked if they would be willing to eat this type of meat if available to buy in shops and restaurants. In total, 29% said they would, 38% said they wouldn’t and the remaining 33% didn’t know. The survey findings show that American respondents (40%) were more likely to eat cultured meat than those in the UK (18%). The results also suggest that cultured meat pioneers would be well advised to target the U.S. market first.
“It’s easy to see why so many consumers welcome the prospect of lab-grown meat,” says Richard Clarke, founder and managing director of Ingredient Communications. “People enjoy eating meat, but often feel guilty about related issues such as animal welfare and the impact of farming on the environment. Cultured meat addresses those concerns, which is a compelling benefit. Nevertheless, we were surprised by how many respondents expressed a willingness to eat cultured meat. It’s such a new concept, and when you consider the backlash against GMOs and the unstoppable momentum of the naturalness trend, it seems counterintuitive that people would be willing to eat meat produced in a laboratory. However, our survey shows that it has appeal for a significant proportion of consumers, particularly those in America.”