Top Meat Trends: The Latest Global Meat Industry Trends

Nick Mirev
Table of Contents
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    In the past few decades, most sectors of the economy have changed considerably. That’s true for the meat industry as well. There are numerous meat trends related to processing, consumption, and production. Various solutions have been introduced that help B2B sales of meat products as well. For example, innovative ways on how to ship frozen meat in order to increase its shelf life. If you’re a restaurant manager who serves meat in their restaurant or a business owner in the field of meat processing and distribution, this article will help you understand the latest meat trends and how to benefit from them. 

    Key takeaway: Increased demand for organic products and increased consumption of poultry and ready-to-eat meat products are among the main meat trends. Even though eCommerce sales of meat are growing, they are still a small fraction of the overall meat market. The restaurant industry has also adapted to the changes in the meat sector. A growing number of food service businesses offer meals with organic meat or high-end products like Japanese wagyu beef.
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    Current State of the Meat Market

    According to the 2024 Power of Meat study, conducted on behalf of the Food Industry Association, 98% of households in the US purchase meat products. 80% of people in the US are self-described meat eaters. Therefore, it’s not surprising that meat is considered to be one of the major food groups. Here are some additional facts that will show you the current state of the market and some of the meat trends.

    1. Poultry is the most popular type of meat. Beef meat comes in second place.
    2. Gen X accounts for the biggest proportion of retail meat sales. On the other hand, millennials spend the most money per meat purchase.
    3. A growing number of people try to recreate restaurant-type meals when they cook at home.
    4. The total amount of sales in the US meat industry accounts for 99 billion USD.
    5. The majority of consumers (55%) shared that they feel good about animal welfare practices in the US.
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    Meat Trends That Are Reshaping the Industry

    As the meat sector is one of the biggest in the overall food industry, meat trends can be different in the various branches of the sector. Furthermore, there are geographical differences in meat trends. For example, in the US sustainability is becoming increasingly important for consumers. That might not be the case for some developing countries. Let’s examine some of the main meat trends.

    Organic Products

    Healthy eating is a top priority for a growing number of people. That’s why many households look for organic meat products. That’s why there are more grass-fed or antibiotic-free products in the meat inventory of restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses. As consumer demand for organic meat grows, there’s a limited supply of such products. Therefore, revenues of small and family-owned livestock farms grow and they become more profitable. These businesses might be interested in how to sell meat online and offer convenient options like meat subscription boxes for households of different sizes.

    Sustainability and Environmentally-Friendly Practices

    Whether they buy a meat subscription or search for a restaurant, the integration of sustainable practices is a major factor for a large percentage of younger generations. Furthermore, government agencies and other organizations are working on various pieces of legislation aimed at making the economy greener. That’s why producers, processors, and wholesale meat distributors should invest in eco-friendly practices and innovations before they become mandatory.

    Growing Demand for Poultry

    American cuisine is often associated with beef. However, poultry has been the most popular type of meat for the past few decades. Its lower prices compared to red meat, the fact that it’s rich in protein, and can be used as a versatile ingredient in a variety of dishes make chicken meat products a primary choice for many consumers. That meat trend is likely to continue as the consumption of poultry has continued its growth.

    Vegan and Cultured Meat Benefits

    Vegan meat is one of the meat trends that have left their mark on the industry. A growing number of restaurants and other businesses aim to find suppliers of vegan meat alternatives. Cultured meat (meat grown in a laboratory) is also sought by many consumers who wish to reduce their ecological footprint. Vegan meat is made from other protein-rich sources like soy, pea protein, or mycoprotein. Meat alternatives help reduce environmental impact and give people who don't consume meat with ethical or health motivations the chance to enjoy a product that resembles it. 

    Ready-to-Eat Meats

    Home canning is one of the most popular ways to preserve meat. There’s a growth in sales of canned meat products as they can be easily used in cooking. The demand for ready-to-eat meat products is fueled by the fast-paced lifestyles and consumer preferences that tilt towards convenience. Most manufacturers also offer ready-to-eat meals like canned spaghetti and meatballs or beef stew. These companies purchase ingredients at wholesale prices and during their peak season. That’s why the cost of goods sold of canned meals is lower and manufacturers can maximize profits even if they offer their products at very competitive prices.

    High-End Products

    Young Americans often wish to try new flavors and products. That’s why the demand for expensive meat products like Mangalitsa pork, Kobe beef, or Iberico ham has grown and the supply of these high-end products is limited.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about the Latest Meat Trends

    The main goal of BlueCart is to help businesses increase wholesale sales of their products. That’s why you’ll find useful information about various niche markets on our website. Below we have answered some popular questions about the top meat trends and the industry in general.

    What Are the Different Branches of the Meat Industry?

    As the meat sector is one of the biggest in the food industry, there are separate branches in it. And each branch has different meat trends and innovations. Here are the main sub-sectors of the meat industry.

    1. Livestock agriculture. This branch is responsible for raising livestock and production of meat. 
    2. Meat processing. This includes various activities like slaughtering, processing, and packaging of meat.
    3. Meat distribution. Once the processing is done, the meat is distributed to various businesses. Manufacturers of gourmet meat products, suppliers of wholesale meat, large restaurant chains, producers of pet food, and other businesses order large quantities of meat products.

    Are Meat Businesses Profitable?

    Yes. As meat is one of the high-demand products in the economy, it can be highly profitable to start a company in that sector. Check out our article on how to start a meat business. Keep in mind that the industry is very saturated and small businesses might stand out of the crowd by focusing on the latest meat trends.

    Other businesses can also benefit from the shifts in demand. For example, a food truck can focus on offering high-end products with wagyu beef meat. This will allow them to have a higher profit margin as the supply for such products is lower.

    What Are the Challenges in the Meat Industry?

    Like any other sector, there are challenges in the meat industry as well. Sustainability, animal welfare, and food control are among the major challenges that businesses need to find an answer to. The fact that there are numerous end products can also create difficulties for retailers, bulk deli meat wholesalers, and businesses that sell meat online. They need to come up with ways to market these products and processors should find solutions that help them separate production streams. Improved logistics, traceability, and reduction of food waste are also important as most types of meat are easily perishable products.

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