Consumption of meat and poultry has climbed markedly since the 1960s. In 1965, Americans consumed 175 pounds of meat and poultry. Today, that number stands at 219 pounds. Chicken and turkey consumption have more than doubled since 1965, while red meat consumption has declined slightly. In 2003 on a per capita basis, Americans consumed 81.5 pounds of chicken, 64.9 pounds of beef, 51.9 pounds of pork; 17.4 pounds of turkey, 1.2 pound of lamb; and .6 pounds of veal.

According to NPD Group, time spent preparing food dropped ten percent in the 1990s as home meal replacement and time saving appliances have become more popular. Today’s time-starved consumers can find quick and easy to cook cuts like boneless breast of chicken and turkey, as well as boneless chops and ready-made burgers to satisfy the need for quick and easy meals. Pre-marinated and pre-cooked products also speed cooking time.

The top ten lunch and dinner entrees in 1997, according to NPD group, were pizza, ham sandwich, peanut butter & jelly sandwich, hot dog, turkey sandwich, hamburger, macaroni and cheese, steak, baked chicken and bologna sandwich. The most popular entrees changed little from 1987 to 1997 and likely will remain consistent in the early part of the new millennium.

While overall meat and poultry consumption has gone up, meat and poultry expenditures as a percent of disposable income continue to decline. In 1970, consumers spent 4.1 percent of their disposable income on meat and poultry. In 2004, that figure stands at 1.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
According to Information Resources Inc., 26 million Americans are on a low-carb diet and some 70 million are limiting their carb intake. The research shows that consumers who are trying to reduce their carb intake are looking at “proteins” like meat and poultry. With more people cutting carbs and boosting protein, it's important to know that beef, chicken and turkey are an excellent source of protein. Knowing more about meat and poultry’s nutrition profile will help solve the protein puzzle and enable shoppers to make better-informed purchasing decisions.
Today, 82 percent of consumers are completely or mostly confident that the food in their supermarket is safe, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) consumer trends study. Consumers are growing more aware of proper handling and cooking at home to ensure the quality and the safety of the food products. Consumers say they practice the following safety measures: wash hands and surfaces, wash vegetables, keep areas pest-free, clean food thoroughly and refrigerate food promptly.

NPD Group

Information Resources, Inc.

AC Nielsen

Global New Products Database

U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

Food Marketing Institute


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