IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – When it comes to what influences consumers’ retail meat purchases, demographics often determine priorities, according to results of a survey by Category Partners (CP). Price, type of meat and appearance are well documented and established factors, but attributes such as production claims, health and wellness and the origin of the products are becoming more important. The CP research included 1,000 consumers between the ages of 21 and 65 who were asked to identify the five most-important factors from a list of 20 that they use when making purchases from the fresh meat case. Not surprisingly, quality/appearance (47 percent), type of meat (47 percent) and price per pound (46 percent) were the top three attributes of respondents, which represented multiple races household sizes and income levels. Flavor/taste (39 percent), price per package (37 percent) and cut of meat (37 percent) were the next most important factors according to the survey.

Meat buyingPriorities varied among gender, age and race, however and factors included in these categories of respondents included origin/locally sourced, animal welfare claims and health. According to the survey:

  • Women are noticeably more concerned than men about quality/appearance; type of meat; health; all natural; and animal welfare.
  • Men are noticeably more concerned than women about flavor/taste; total price per package; quantity/servings per package; intended use; and origin/locally sourced.
  • Consumers who are older than 55 are most likely to consider quality/appearance as key; those older than 45 are more likely to cite type of meat and value/price per pound and cut as important.
  • Consumers 34 and younger are more likely to identify health, all natural, quantity/servings per pound and origin/locally as decision factors.
  • Hispanics/Latinos place more importance on all natural and origin/locally sourced when making decisions.
  • African Americans are more focused on leanness/fat content and organic claims as priorities.

According to Cara Ammon, CP’s director of consumer research, “Aside from quality and price, which always have been important to consumers, a significant number of today’s meat shoppers are more concerned about how their meat was raised, where it originated and its impact on their well-being.”