By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, FMI
According to the 2019 Power of Meat Report, eating meat is still the norm with 86% of shoppers classifying themselves as meat eaters, 5% following a vegetarian or vegan diet and 10% describing their eating style as flexitarian (mostly vegetarian with some animal protein). However, the report finds consumers are becoming conscious of the effects their diet has on the environment. While some shoppers choose to abstain from eating meat, most consumers are finding ways to keep meat in their diets in a more sustainable manner.
Shopping for Sustainable Meats
In the minds of shoppers, choosing to eat meat in a more sustainable way allows them to do their part for the planet. According to the 2019 Power of Meat Report, shoppers’ desire to know more about meat and poultry raising/production practices and product ingredients is driving growth for meat. As more consumers learn the facts about how meat affects their health and the environment, more want to know where their meat is coming from. Currently, the highest growth in dollar size is seen for meat with organic and grass-fed claims.
Meat Industry Sustainability Efforts
It is clear consumer interest and demand for sustainability is exponentially increasing when it comes to purchasing meat, and the industry is responding. To meat industry communities, sustainability initiatives comprise not only environmental considerations, but also social and economic effects. The North American Meat Institute will soon launch its sustainability initiative focused on driving continuous improvement toward environmental, animal welfare, food safety, labor and human rights, and health and wellness goals over the next decade. Individual companies have also made their own commitments. Cargill, for example, announced BeefUp Sustainability, a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its North American beef supply chain. Their new sustainability initiative sets a 30% reduction target by 2030. Cargill is just one of many companies releasing sustainability initiatives to the public to drive continuous improvement efforts in key sustainability areas.
How can suppliers and food retailers work together on meat sustainability initiatives to meet shopper needs? To learn about increasing sustainability in the world of meat, along with a multitude of other industry topics, join FMI and NAMI at the 2020 Annual Meat Conference, March 2-4, in Nashville, Tennessee. The Annual Meat Conference offers a complete education and networking experience, with sessions aimed to open the door to new ideas and fresh perspectives.