Promoting red meat to the younger generation

Special efforts are needed to promote eating red meat among the younger generation.

Research shows consumer usage and attitudes about red meat vary among age groups. Mintel consumer data demonstrates a higher frequency of using traditional protein meal components like beef and pork in consumers age 55 and older. There is also evidence that there is a decline in red meat consumption by younger age groups.

Ground beef and prepared cuts of pork and beef are the most frequently consumed types of red meat. The under age 25 group report a stronger tendency to not eat these meat products. Those among the younger generation who do eat ground beef report eating it less frequently than older consumer groups. 

The younger generation, as a group, is most interested in sustainability and environmental efforts. They have the perception that red meat is more resource intensive to produce and therefore not as environmentally friendly.

They are also health and nutrition conscious and feel that red meats are not as healthful as other animal proteins. (Mintel, Chicago. Red Meat - USA, 2010.)

There is a tremendous role for producers, processors and retailers to educate these young consumers. Efforts should be targeted at promoting the health benefits of red meat citing it as an excellent source of protein, essential amino acids, iron, and zinc. Responsible livestock production practices should also be highlighted to appeal to the younger generation who is interested in socially responsible farming.

This group of consumers is also keen on convenience and is looking for quick and easy meal preparation. This should be taken into consideration by those involved with product development and marketing. To appeal to this younger audience, cuts of meat that are small and cook quickly are desirable. Added value elements like preseasoning or marinating also contribute to making red meat products more attractive to young consumers. This age group is attracted to ethnic and herb flavor components like they experience in restaurant foods and want to duplicate those tastes at home without a lot of effort in the preparation process.

Livestock producers or food processors interested in developing new value added meat products may contact the MSU Product Center for assistance. 

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