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Five new meat consumer segments

Midan Marketing's research reveals the ways today's meat eaters were impacted by the pandemic and record inflation.

Ann Hess

September 14, 2023

6 Min Read
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What makes today’s meat consumers tick? That’s the question Midan Marketing has been striving to better understand since their first meat consumer segmentation study in 2016.

“We want to make sure that as an agency, who's really out there trying to help people sell more meat, we want to make sure we're keeping an eye on the meat consumer and their changes in attitudes and behaviors at the meat case, whether that be physical or virtual,” said Kerry Beauchemin, associate director of brand strategy for Midan Marketing.

This year, the ad agency, which is exclusively focused on the meat industry, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,300 current U.S. meat and poultry consumers with a variety of motivations and purchase habits. Their findings were then clustered to identify five new consumer segments that represent today’s meat and poultry consumers.

Connected Trendsetters

This group represents about 14% of the population. According to Beauchemin, they are the smallest and youngest of all of the segments.

“The Connected Trendsetters are defined by just that, the word connection,” says Beauchemin. “They are connected to the internet and they are connected to each other, both in the physical as well as the digital space. They are the group that you could think of as being always on.”

Connected Trendsetters often act as influencers in their social groups and tend to be early adopters in the latest trends with meat.

“When it comes to various products, including meat products, a lot of their engagement and their interaction comes from the time they spend on social media,” says Beauchemin. “We have about 68% of our Connected Trendsetters who say they spend most of their time hanging out on social platforms like TikTok or Instagram or Snapchat.”

Connected Trendsetters also tend to purchase fresh meat online more often. Four out of five indicated they had purchased fresh meat online in the past three months.

“And while what we know about Connected Trendsetters is that meat is often their main dish, we also know they have eclectic taste and are open to experimenting,” says Beauchemin. “They're adventurous eaters who are often driven by variety and are interested in all types of protein.”

Even though this consumer segment is already heavily engaged with meat and poultry, Beauchemin notes this group can be reached online with recommendations.

Claim Seekers

Largely female driven, Claim Seekers represent about 24% of the population, and they pay careful attention to what they eat.

“They want meat and poultry products that hit on what I call the ‘health trifecta’ — healthy for their bodies, healthy for the animals, and healthy for the planet,” says Beauchemin. “This segment is driven by quality as well as claims, and they're willing to pay more to find a meat product that delivers on what they care about most.”

This is the consumer segment that is most motivated to purchase meat that is organic, humanely raised, grass fed or raised without antibiotics. Claim Seekers are also willing to pay more for those claims.

“They also tend to be the folks that carefully inspect packages, so they'll pick up that package of meat at the meat case and kind of scan it for certifications, potentially like organic and non-GMO,” Beauchemin says.

Of all of the segments, this group is the most health conscious, selecting poultry as their primary protein and having average engagement with beef and pork.

“They do show some trends of replacing that beef and pork in their diets with plant-based alternatives,” says Beauchemin. “But something to keep in mind, especially when we think about new product opportunities, they're also open to experimenting and if the product does deliver on their health and wellness desires, they may be swayed to try something new and different.”

Convenience Cravers

This segment tends to skew younger as well as male and represents about 17% of the population. Busy people, this group prioritizes convenient, affordable meat products that can be cooked quickly.

“These consumers often describe themselves as the type that are, ‘I just don't really have time for a sit-down meal,’” says Beauchemin. “They think that preparing meat in their everyday lives takes extraordinarily long.”

While they like to consume meat proteins, they’re not searching out claims or driven by health and wellness. Beauchemin says the one thing to keep in mind with Convenience Cravers is that they do tend to be a little bit price sensitive.

“They look for those products that you know fit into their budget that they can afford, and since they are so convenience driven, the internet provides an excellent opportunity for this consumer to meet their needs by providing additional convenience,” Beauchemin says. “We see about 44% of this segment have purchased meat online in the past three months.”


Committed Carnivores

A slightly older segment of meat eaters, Committed Carnivores represent about 23% of the population. They are very engaged with meat and love to cook and eat it.  

“They truly enjoy the taste of meat and they take quite a lot of pride in cooking from scratch,” Beauchemin says. “We see that about 96% of these consumers, which is extremely high, say that meat is something their whole family enjoys. And I take that as a positive because what it seems like is that this segment is passing down their love of meat to those in their households as well.”

While Committed Carnivores are not driven by health and wellness, they do feel meat is too expensive. They are willing to try new products and brands, however, a coupon or discount is often needed.

Average social media users, this segment is also not likely to purchase meat online and prefer a more traditional approach to shopping.

Finally, Committed Carnivores rarely substitute meat with plant-based proteins.

“They tend to eat meat because it tastes good and they truly cannot imagine giving up the taste of meat,” Beauchemin says.

Classic Palates

Older in age, Classic Palates make up about 22% of the population and tend to be creatures of habit.

“They are defined by their habitual approach to purchasing protein. Meat is a staple of their mealtime routines and they have no desire to give up its taste,” says Beauchemin. “They do eat meat quite regularly, but they're not emotionally attached like some of our other segments are, and they're really not that into cooking in general.

Classic Palates lean lower income and are more concerned with prices at the meat case.

“They often feel that when they go to the meat case, the meat is just too expensive and they prefer to buy it when it's on sale,” says Beauchemin.

However, because of their habitual nature, Classic Palates won't go to multiple stores to try to find the best deal on meat, even though they want it on sale.

This is also the hardest consumer segment to influence in the purchase journey, Beauchemin says.

“About 44% of this group, more than any other group say that factors like in-store displays at retail and weekly flyers don't influence their purchase decisions at all,” Beauchemin says.

About the Author(s)

Ann Hess

Content Director, National Hog Farmer

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