ATLANTA – The 2012 Power of Meat Report revealed that the volatile economic climate continues to shape consumer shopping behaviors. The report explores consumer consumption and spending patterns, nutrition, packaging and labeling and consumer interest in natural and organic meat among other topics. The seventh such study, the report was commissioned by the American Meat Institute, the Food Marketing Institute and was sponsored by Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging Division. The findings were based on a sample size of 1,340 US consumers using an online questionnaire.

Among the key findings:

• Consumers are buying fewer groceries to reduce spending. Forty-five percent of shoppers who reduced grocery spending in 2011 reduced their spending by simply buying less. This is almost the same as the number of people who reduced their grocery spending by using lists, coupons and buying private label products.

• Natural and organic meat and poultry markets attracted new users in 2011 after several years of being flat. The percentage of shoppers who reported purchasing natural and/organic meat/poultry in the past three months, increased to 24 percent from 20 percent.

• Consumers reported frying less, with a 22 percentage-point decrease in frying as a meal preparation method, while the use of slow cookers and ovens has increased 12 percent over the past five years.

• Household income directly impacts the frequency of meat and poultry consumption, as shoppers who experienced a drop in household income tend to eat meat and poultry less frequently at an average of 3.8 dinners a week vs. the average four dinners a week for most Americans.