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    Red Meat Supply and Demand

    Deli and prepared foods departments can gauge consumer sentiment to best create the most sought-after beef and pork selections

    Thin is in.

    Many consumers are seeking to improve their diet to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight. But “thin” is also a word that can be used to describe economic margins, spanning consumers’ own food dollar and retailers’ and foodservice operators’ budgets.

    As food prices climb, supply and demand are impacted. With prices for commodities like beef and pork particularly on the upswing, those who sell beef and pork dishes in the deli and prepared foods department can gauge consumer sentiment to best create and merchandise red meat meals that fit people’s current attitudes and preferences.

    "Rising prices for beef—and to a lesser degree, pork—will have direct implications for operators and suppliers through 2013," said Darren Tristano, VP of research firm Technomic. “Opportunities are emerging to explore different cuts of meat and develop innovative applications that cross-utilize beef and pork across the menu."

    Technomic recently updated its Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report, with implications for those who prepare and merchandise beef and pork entrees. According to the latest research, consumers report that on average, four out of every five meals they eat contain some kind of meat.

    When presented with a choice of protein for a menu offering, consumers reported that they order an item with beef or steak 33 percent of the time. Chicken gets almost as much, at 29 percent.

    Sixty-five percent of consumers say they enjoy pork served with sweet/honey flavors, while 64 percent say they enjoy hickory flavors and 58 percent say they like barbecue sauces, glazes and marinades. Additionally, consumer preferences for sweet, tangy and chipotle-flavored barbecue sauces are on the rise.


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