Beef and pork have long been staples of Americans’ plates, but with growing sustainability and health concerns, shifts are taking place in this category. The “2019 Center of the Plate: Beef and Pork Consumer Trend Report,” produced by Technomic, Chicago, explores how the rise of popularity in alternative proteins and the transparency of animal treatment are affecting consumers’ preferences. 

“While demand for beef and pork still remains strong, consumers report a slight decline in consumption of these proteins over the past two years due to the growth in health and sustainability concerns,” says Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights. “Adjusting to consumers’ evolving approach to beef and pork consumption will be vital to growing sales. Focus should be placed on innovative and unique cuts or flavors that meet the demand for high-quality, natural products.” 

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • 50% of consumers who often eat beef say it’s important they eat beef that came from animals treated humanely.
  • 44% of consumers who often eat pork say it’s important they eat pork that came from animals treated humanely.
  • 42% of beef consumers would like restaurants to offer beef entrées with new, unique flavors.
  • 38% of pork consumers are interested in trying pork made with new, unique flavors.

The study compiles findings from more than 1,700 consumer responses, as well as menu and industry data from the Ignite database to better understand how consumer consumption, attitudes and preferences toward beef and pork menu items are evolving and to identify opportunity areas.