BELOIT, Wisc. – According to recent consumer research focusing on labeling claims and ingredients of lunch meat, hot dog and sausage products, what is perceived as taboo varies among age groups. In its report, “The Top Consumer No-No Ingredients for Meat by Generation,” Kerry concluded that 75 percent of consumers read labels to learn more about the ingredients in the food they consume.
In general, consumers are demanding authentic, familiar and simple ingredients that are easy to identify and pronounce. But there are variations in tolerance when it comes to ingredients considered to be off limits, depending on consumers’ age and the category of meat, according to the report. Incidentally, nitrates and nitrites are near or at the bottom of the list across product categories and among millennials and Generation Xers but not for baby boomers.
In the hot dog and sausage category, the top three “No-no” ingredients by generation include:
Millennials – High fructose corn syrup (49 percent); monosodium glutamate/MSG (43 percent); and BHA/BHT (30 percent). When it comes to lunch meat, millennials shun MSG (40 percent); high fructose corn syrup (32 percent); and nitrates/nitrites (28 percent).
Gen X – Hot dog and sausage: High fructose corn syrup (51 percent); monosodium glutamate/MSG (51 percent); and nitrites/nitrates (24 percent). When it comes to lunch meat, Gen Xers shun MSG (37 percent); high fructose corn syrup (28 percent); and nitrates/nitrites (24 percent).
Baby boomers – Hot dog and sausage: MSG (52 percent); nitrates/nitrites (52 percent); high fructose corn syrup (43 percent). For lunch meat, boomers’ no-no list includes: MSG (40 percent); high fructose corn syrup (36 percent); and nitrates/nitrites (28 percent).
"Consumers are going deeper than looking for claims and checking for the scientific name of a preservative on the back of the pack.” says Michael Matthews, vice president of food protection & fermentation at Kerry. Matthews plans to use the findings from this research to ensure Kerry continues to showcase “how fresh taste, appearance and texture can be maintained over shelf life without clouding labels or compromising food safety.”