Many of the products at today's tasting reception at the Annual Meat Conference exemplified hot trends in the meat category.
For instance, presenters mentioned that consumers are looking for high-end products and affordable products, but not much in-between. The labels on these ground veal and ground lamb products (right) are obviously intending to appeal to that higher-end consumer.
Several presenters urged the meat industry to tell its own story and not be afraid of difficult topics. Since veal can be a touchy subject, I was surprised that this label also calls attention to the product and changes the conversation by noting that the animals were never tethered, were raised in groups and never administered growth hormones.
Speaking of "free from" messaging, antibiotic-free and hormone-free products are gaining steam (see more on the topic in this week's print edition of SN). Today a spokesperson at Perdue told me that antibiotic-free products are 8% of the company's total poultry sales, and the category continues to grow.
Another trend that show presenters have pointed out is the snacking trend, which they say is a big opportunity for new, smaller meat products. A few suppliers today showed some bite-sized portioned products (see left), but there seems to be plenty of room for more protein snack innovation.
Lastly, presentsers such as Harvey Hartman of the Hartman Group said some shoppers tend to do more "assembling" of meals than cooking meals. These Butterball sub starters caught my eye because a consumer is technically "cooking" by taking already cooked turkey breast, ham, and bacon and putting them together in several sandwiches (right). This isn't cooking in my book, but it's not quite take out.