Consumers still choosing beef, new research shows
There is some good news coming from the beef case for the cattle industry, according to new consumer research. In data provided by the Beef Board, the number of times consumers choose beef per week grew from 1.9 in January, 2007, to 2.5 in July, 2008 – an increase of 32 percent. Consumer attitudes about many of beef’s qualities are also improving, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers who “influence their household’s nutrition choices at mealtimes.”
Survey results show consumers rate beef stronger than chicken on protein content, taste, satisfaction and other “sensory rewards,” while chicken leads beef in frequency of current use and anticipated future use. But the number of consumers who believe that beef delivers “a balance of taste and nutrition” increased from 57 percent in January, 2007 to 71 percent in May, 2008.
However, the beef they’re choosing is increasingly the ground variety, according to Steven Burd, chairman of the grocery chain Safeway Inc., and analysts at Deutsche Bank AG. “We’re seeing more shifts in the meat category to cheaper meats – ground beef and chicken – than we saw earlier in the year,” Burd said recently. That is mirrored by a “trading down virtually across the board” in retail and even non-retail products, he said.