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National Grilling Month: Consumers still love beef

Despite added market pressure from alternative protein companies like plant-based patties, beef continues to be a beloved choice for Americans.

It’s National Grilling Month and at our house, the grill is always sizzling! From burgers to brats to steaks and kabobs, the possibilities for great-tasting, affordable and family-friendly beef options are endless.

While National Grilling Months should be beef’s time to shine, our industry has always had to share the center of the dinner plate with other proteins — pork, poultry and fish.

So it’s really not new to be fighting for market share against other protein sources. As plant-based alternatives fight for consumer acceptance, what can we do to remain the protein king now and into the future?

For starters, it may benefit us to understand more about our consumers’ preferences. Technomic recently released its “2019 Burger Consumer Trend Report,” which breaks down the latest trends, consumer attitudes and predictions when it comes to burgers.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • 55% of consumers eat burgers either at home or at foodservice at least once a week.
  • 35% of consumers strongly agree that they’re willing to pay more for premium toppings.
  • 59% say affordability is one of the most important factors when deciding where to order a burger.
  • 47% of consumers are concerned about the quality and freshness of burgers ordered for delivery.
  • 48% are willing to wait longer for a build-your-own burger.
  • 42% have a preferred restaurant for burger occasions.

Additionally, University of Florida Extension recently released trends that are defining the meat industry.

According to the report, “American’s consumed an average of 220 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018 (58.5 pounds of beef per capita). That equates to .07% of 1 cow annually (average dress weight of 850 pounds).

Per capita consumption of meat is increasing, with the fastest-growing demand happening in Minnesota, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Florida, Maine, New Jersey and Illinois, per the report.

Skeptical about Americans’ love of the classic beef burger? Then get a load of this:

According to a YAHOO! Finance report, “While burger chains including Burger King, Carl's Jr., and Red Robin have been grabbing headlines for serving faux meat patties from Beyond Meat and rival Impossible Burger, McDonald's recently announced that after it switched over to fresh beef (rather than frozen) in Quarter Pounders a year ago, customers bought 40 million more of the iconic sandwich in the first quarter this year than they did in the same quarter a year ago. It also said it gained ‘burger share’ in the informal eating out category for the first time in five years.

“Certainly there are customers who will want to eat burgers made from pea protein isolate or soybeans due to being vegetarian or vegan or to being concerned about animal and environmental issues, but this news from McDonald's shows that there are still millions of people who prefer eating real beef.”

As demand and consumption rise in the U.S., we as producers have a great opportunity to further engage and interact with our consumers on social media. There is a great deal of misinformation out there about our product, so anything we can do to alleviate the fear, guilt, confusion and mixed emotions about beef as it relates to animal welfare, environment and nutrition, the better off we’ll be.

So let’s take the bull by the horns this grilling month and showcase our best recipes, spices, grilling secrets and more on social media. I’m going to make a conscious effort to post more on my Instagram stories this month. Search for me at Amanda Radke and follow along.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

TAGS: Beef
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