ROCKVILLE, Md. – According to the Packaged Facts report: “Meat, Poultry and Seafood: Restaurant Trends and Opportunities,” released this month, restaurant patrons want natural meat and poultry items that keep what are perceived as negative human interventions out of the process.

The report covers breakfast, burgers and sandwiches, entrées, seafood and international cuisine and analyzes proteins on those areas of restaurant menus. It then digs deeper into the trends to discover the themes that support and influence menu innovation.

"Perhaps more than ever before, consumers want to know about what's in their meat and poultry, how it was raised and where it came from. This need to know taps a breadth of concerns related to food healthfulness and sustainable practices," says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.

Sixty percent of meat and poultry eaters say “all-natural” claims carry significant importance in their selection of meat and poultry dishes at restaurants, as well as hormones, antibiotic use and preservatives.

Forty-five percent say “free-range” makes a difference and 47 percent cite sustainability as a factor when choosing meat and poultry dishes. Also relevant to diners is how an animal is fed. “Grass-fed, “vegetarian,” etc., affect consumer selection, according to the report.

Another noteworthy trend in the report states that about 40 percent of diners that order meat  regard organic as being an important factor. Hispanics, Gen-Xers and higher income households stand out as influential demographics that desire organic meats. At least half of these demographic segments are more likely to choose organic meat offerings than the overall American population.

Packaged Facts suggests that restaurants offer at least one or two organic meat items to their menus to meet the customer demand.