PRICE and value continue to most influence consumers' meat purchasing decisions, although price is not as strong of a factor as it has been in recent years, according to an annual survey by the American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute.
Growing in influence, especially for dinner, is convenience, as demonstrated by an increasing interest for heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat meats and ease and time of preparation, according to the 2013 "Power of Meat" survey.
Other findings from the survey, compared with the previous year, included:
* For the first time in eight years, grocery shoppers reported that the number of meals they prepare that feature a portion of meat or poultry declined from 4.1 to 3.6 meals per week.
* Grocery shoppers continued to demonstrate flexibility in shifting between brands, meat and poultry and cuts of meat and poultry. More shoppers, especially higher-income shoppers, said they prefer national brands, but the number of shoppers preferring private-label meat and poultry held steady.
* The number of shoppers who have purchased natural and/or organic meat and poultry increased to 26%, a trend that was especially evident among higher-income shoppers, and 73% of shoppers said they are purchasing natural and organic products at their primary store, which is moving the natural and organic category from specialty stores to conventional grocery stores, supermarkets and warehouse stores.
* "Mom" is being replaced by digital sources for advice and tips on meal preparation, with 27% of shoppers saying they turn to digital sources and 23% saying they turn to family members.
The survey was conducted by 210 Analytics Inc. and was sponsored by Sealed Air's Cryovac food packaging division. It was released at the 2013 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, Tenn.