Despite alternative proteins rising in popularity, meat continues to dominate food industry profits.

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Packaged Facts projected in a new analysis that total retail sales of meat, poultry, and meat substitutes will be just shy of $100 billion in 2021. The report explains that meat and poultry products are consumer favorites, food industry mainstays and protein powerhouses – all factors that will keep the US industry for animal protein growing despite challenges from plant protein alternatives.

The report titled, “Meat & Poultry: US Retail Market Trends & Opportunities” goes on to say that due to its higher price point, meat will dominate dollar sales despite still trailing poultry in per-capita consumption volume. Meat substitutes will account for less than $2 billion of the projected total.

Even with the popularity of meat, there is still scrutiny on practices and animal welfare from people in and out of the industry.

"Meat continues to evolve and be re-evaluated by consumers in the wake of years of consciousness-raising on several topics, including humane animal treatment, meat processing, and nutrition," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

In the years to come, Packaged Facts predicts, consumers will be mindful of their meat consumption for several reasons including, economic, caloric, dietary, or ecological.

For those who seek out sustainable meat and poultry, specialty products like grass-fed or local beef, heritage poultry and even wild boar will be more readily available. Consumers will also look to meat professionals to connect them with these products, explain the product benefits, and educate on how these products are best prepared and served.

Packaged Facts also says retail sales of meat will also receive a boost from growth in consumption of pork, which is expected to maintain its low-cost advantage over beef. In addition, many previously overlooked cuts of pork are experiencing a resurgence in popularity both at retail and in restaurants.

Plus, retail sales of poultry are expected to increase over the ensuing five years, supported by poultry's cost advantages relative to many types of meat.

With convenience and portability a trend across the food and beverage industry, consumers seeking high-protein meat snacks will find plenty of meat jerky, meat snack bars and meat sticks available, as well as crunchy cracklings from high-quality pork, plus plant- and nut-based meat substitutes.