Impact of Premium Label on Perception of Beef and Pork

March 2/Chicago/Food & Beverage Close-Up -- Nearly two out of three consumers recently surveyed by Technomic say they think beef and pork products labeled or menued with premium descriptors such as grass-fed, lean, organic or natural will taste better than other beef and pork products that do not carry these same labels.

Terms describing premium types and cuts of meat had a strong influence on perception of flavor and price thresholds, while terms describing natural farming and preparation were likely to influence consumers' perception of healthfulness, the company reported.

"Consumers have gained familiarity in the retail sector with descriptions of beef and pork products denoting them as premium," says Technomic executive vice president Darren Tristano. "Now as they visit restaurants, they are carrying those experiences with them and seeking out quality cuts, breeds, and preparation through descriptors on the menu."

Technomic has developed the Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report, with findings including:

- Among consumers who do not eat meat regularly, health is the number one deterrent. Interestingly, many consumers feel that lean and extra-lean cuts of meat actually taste better while also being healthier.

- New menu trends on the horizon for beef and pork include Asian and Caribbean culinary influences, as well as upscale positioning for urban barbecue concepts.

- Consumers crave more variety from the pork offerings at restaurants and indicate that they would order pork dishes more often if these needs were satisfied.

From the March 7, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition