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How the beef industry can capitalize on millennial meat buying habits

It’s Labor Day, and I hope everyone is finding a way to relax a little bit over the long weekend. September brings more than cutting silage and doing fall calf work; it’s also a time for tailgating, ball games, back-to-school activities and fall bonfires.

Food is typically a big part of any gathering, and meat is the center of it. New research conducted by Midan Marketing is helping the beef industry identify the needs of consumers — from baby boomers to millennials.

READ: 3 ways to think like a millennial shopper & sell more beef

According to the study, which was featured on The Shelby Report, millennials represent a $75.4 million market, overtaking boomers as the largest generation. With this spending power, it’s important to pay close attention to how this generation spends their dollars in order for beef producers to capitalize on their purchasing habits.

The study looked at 425 millennials and 400 boomers in May 2016 to determine their attitudes and perceptions about meat. The research identified 12 differences between the two groups; here are a few that the beef industry should think about:

First, millennials spend significantly more on meat than boomers. The study revealed that, “In an average month, Millennials spend significantly more on meat than Boomers ($162 vs. $93). This can be explained by two important differences between these groups: one, Millennials have larger households (and growing families), and two, they purchase proportionally more prepared meats than Boomers.”

READ: 3 things millennials want to know about beef

In fact, of the meat millennials purchase, 44% of it is prepared meats compared to only 22% for boomers.

The study revealed that both groups have positive attitudes toward meat, but health concerns are a top concern for decreasing consumption. However, boomers said the cost of meat was the second reason for cutting back on meat while millennials listed animal welfare, environmental concerns and social influences as reasons to decrease their meat intake.

As a millennial myself, I can understand some of the thoughts this group is going through when they go to the grocery store. Whether they are fresh out of college, getting married and having kids, this is the time in their lives when they are developing their lifelong spending habits, personal beliefs, food habits, and determining how they will feed their families in a way that also aligns with their values and busy schedules.

It won’t be an easy task to meet the increasing societal demands of this generation, especially when they are being blasted on social media with so much negative, misguided information about food. Everywhere you look, there’s another negative report slamming meat production and consumption for a myriad of reasons, and it could be tough to change perceptions.

I think the millennial consumer would benefit greatly from having the opportunity to meet and visit with real meat producers who can explain how we, too, share the same values in caring for the environment and the livestock, and that we also want to eat food that is healthful, nourishing and safe.

We can no longer afford to sit idly by and hope someone else does the advocacy for us. We need to be proactive in engaging with consumers — online and in person. We need to engage and inspire folks to feel confident in their meat purchases without the guilt.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Penton Agriculture.


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