When making fresh meat purchases, consumers seek the mainstays, including quality, type, price and flavor, other factors such as wellness and production practices, health, animal welfare, origin/locally sourced and organic are becoming increasingly important, according to a report published by Category Partners (CP), Idaho Falls, Idaho.

CP surveyed 1,000 consumers, ages 21-65, of varying races, household sizes and incomes across the United States.

Respondents were asked to select their Top 5 attributes, out of a list of 20.

“Aside from quality and price, which always have been important to consumers, a significant number of today’s meat shoppers are more concerned about how their meat was raised, where it originated and its impact on their well-being,” says Cara Ammon, director of consumer research.

In efforts to drive greater sales, including incremental and impulse, suppliers and retailers can respond to these overall indicators through targeted sourcing and strong partnerships, need-based assortment, merchandising that highlights these attributes and pricing/promotions for perceived value.

At the same time, meat purchasing preferences vary based upon a range of demographics, which depending upon shopper makeup, should certainly be utilized where possible.

Key notes from the study include:

Geography. Midwest consumers are most likely to rank type of meat and sale/promotion as critical and least likely to rank all-natural. Northeast consumers are most likely to name quality/appearance, health, all-natural and intended use as top factors and least likely to care about value/price per pound. Southern consumers are most likely to cite value/price per pound and texture/tenderness as important and least likely to name sale/promotion. Western consumers are most likely to rank total price per package and cut as most important and least likely to factor type of meat.

Age. Consumers 55 and up are most likely to consider quality/appearance as key; those 45 and up are more likely to cite type of meat, value/price per pound and cut as important. Consumers 34 and younger are more likely to name health, all-natural, quantity/servings per pound and origin/locally sourced as decisive.

Gender. Women are noticeably more concerned than men about quality/appearance, type of meat, health, all-natural and animal welfare. Men are noticeably more concerned than women about flavor/taste, total price per package, quantity/servings per package, intended use and origin/locally sourced.

Race. Hispanics/Latinos place more importance on all-natural and origin/locally sourced. African Americans are more focused on leanness/fat content and organic.