Winner winner chicken dinner
Chicken is at the top of consumers’ “most loved” list of favorite proteins, with 100 percent of those surveyed reporting they love it, via Datassential’s FLAVOR consumer rating tool that covers more than 2,600 foods and ingredients. [Note: Participants in the survey had to consume meat at least once a month to participate.]
Where's the beef?
Sure, chicken came out on top, but not to worry, burger and steak lovers. Beef is close behind, with a 99th percentile rank of love from consumers.
Pork is still popular, too, at 92 percent of consumers loving pork on this survey, with Cornish hen and lamb tied for fifth place, each at 54 percent. Coming in last were veal, venison, bison, duck and goat.
When did you last eat meat or poultry?
Consumers were asked to think back to their very last meal or snack containing any meat or poultry. A hearty 51 percent said they had meat or poultry today; 41 percent said they had eaten meat or poultry within the past two to three days and 5 percent had it in the past week. Just 2 percent said their meaty meal was within the past two weeks, and 1 percent said it was within the past month.
What time of day?
More than half—53 percent—of consumers said they consumed meat or poultry for dinner, while 32 percent had it for lunch. Just 7 percent had meat or poultry for breakfast and 8 percent consumed it as a snack, something Datassential experts identify as growing occasion for meat and poultry.
Since snacking is growing as an eating style, and more and more consumers are looking for performance snacks that are high in protein or other nutrients. The “better jerky” market has room to grow, according to Datassential, with cured meat sticks leading the pack in meat and poultry for the snacking occasion, with 53 percent of those surveyed reaching for beef jerky sticks for snack time.
More meaty snacks
And 50 percent of consumers are ripping into jerky that’s in dried meat chip form. Another interesting jerky innovation, jerky trail mix, appeared on the survey with 22 percent of consumers craving it.
A move beyond center of the plate
Just 25 percent of consumers surveyed last had meat/poultry as a center-of-the-plate entrée. Nineteen percent had it in a sandwich, 14 percent had a burger, 12 percent had pasta and noodles with meat, 9 percent had a Mexican dish, and 8 percent had a sausage or hot dog.
Appetizers and small plates
According to recent reports on snacking, consumers are more willing to think of things like mini burgers/sliders as a viable snack. Datassential found that 48 percent of consumers consume meat as an appetizer or shared plate/entrée-as-snack.
Among beef dishes, roasting and braising are up 8 percent and 16 percent, respectively, on menus.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Brined chicken has been blowing up on menus, increasing 182 percent over the past four years.
One consumer told Datassential, “I would like to see creative sauces poured over top of the chicken, like spicy mango.” Another consumer reported a taste for “marinated chicken besides fajitas, perhaps with Greek or Middle Eastern spices.”
What to look for
One foodservice operator surveyed by Datassential is looking for “new flavors of chicken-based sausages,” the respondent said. “Every time we offer a new chicken sausage it does surprisingly well.”
Supply and demand
“I want the price of cheap cuts to go back to being cheap…short ribs were so affordable, which was great, but because of their sudden popularity, prices have gone up,” an operator said in the survey. Another foodservice operator lamented, “Every new beef item becomes popular and the price goes up…flat iron steak, skirt, spinalis (if you can even find it), short rib, etc.”
“I’d like to see a wider variety of seasoned raw meat products to help reduce labor while increasing flavor and consistency,” according to one operator surveyed. Other operators were looking for preseasoned meat crumbles, more premarinated poultry, ethnic cuisine that’s frozen and ready to serve and “anything that is easy to prepare and cost effective.” To get more menu insights or order the full keynote, visit Datassential’s website.