Consumers seek healthier meals over traditional comfort foods: Foster Farms

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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 Foster Farms
 

SAN FRANCISCO – A Foster Farms survey shows that consumers are moving away from traditional comfort foods and moving toward meals that are healthy, locally sourced and easy to prepare.

The results of a Foster Farms’ national survey showed that when preparing meals 81 percent of consumers care more about the quality of ingredients, 83 percent choose healthier recipes, 81 percent eat more fruits and vegetables, and 63 percent look for more meat and poultry raised without hormones and antibiotics. Chicken is a staple when it comes to comfort food meals for 83 percent of the respondents, and half of the respondents report eating less red meat. The research also shows that 68 percent of respondents and 74 percent of those identifying themselves as parents are more concerned about what goes into their food compared to previous generations.

“We have seen that as a new generation of home cooks evolves, specifically millennial parents, ingredient preferences are more informed and carefully defined,” said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. “Chicken is a staple ingredient, and today’s consumer wants that chicken to be antibiotic-free or organic. It is what they feel best about serving their families. We have seen continued demand for these select products as a result.”

Foster Farms hosted a panel discussion Aug. 22 in San Francisco to further discuss theories behind the emergence of the new comfort food trend. Panelists included chef, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author and Food Network “Chopped” champion Dean Rucker and consumer psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kit Yarrow. The panel was provided the survey results in addition to insights observed on Pinterest.

Some of the insights gathered from Pinterest include:

• Over the last year on Pinterest, people saved nearly 50,000 comfort food ideas every day to more than 14 million boards, a 140 percent increase from the previous year.

• “Veggies” is the most popular word accompanying comfort food Pins.

• In the last year, 35 million people saved 566 million chicken ideas on Pinterest, a 32 percent increase from the previous year, and more than eggs, peanut butter and beef combined

• Traditional comfort foods are on the decline, including lasagna (down 69 percent), macaroni (down 55 percent) and stroganoff (down 50 percent) over the last year.

“The comfort food of yesterday is not as relevant to today’s consumers,” Rucker said. “Today’s home chefs want their meals to taste good, but they also want to use ingredients they feel good about. Their priorities are high quality ingredients and time.”

Yarrow added, “Social media has informed, liberated and inspired consumers. Today’s new comfort food is about variety, impact, and high quality ingredients rather than simply taste indulgence.”

The Foster Farms survey also revealed the following information on millennial consumers:

• 50 percent of millennial respondents seek inspiration for recipes from social media, compared to 34 percent of older generations

• 24 percent of millennials look for online video recipes, compared to 15 percent of Gen Xers

• 41 percent of millennials share food they cook on social media at least a few times a week, compared to 24 percent of non-millennials

• 61 percent of millennials rely on recipes, compared to 54 percent of non-millennials

• 77 percent of millennials try new recipes at least once a month, compared to 65 percent of non-millennials

Later in August, Foster Farms plans to debut a new marketing and advertising campaign called The New Comfort Food. The program will promote Foster Farms’ Simply Raised chicken products in TV and digital advertising, blogger partnerships, social media promotions and new recipes at www.fosterfarms.com/recipes/the-new-comfort-food.  

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