CHICAGO -- New research confirmed what many food retailers have observed lately: Meat sales have gotten a big boost from the surge in low-carb, high-protein dieting last year.
tributed the strong sales jump to the "explosion of popularity of the Atkins diet in 2003, which led to an increased focus on red meat, particularly by men following the diet." (For the purposes of the study, researchers included beef, veal, lamb and pork under the meat category.)
Nearly a quarter of respondents have increased the amount of meat and fish they are eating due to the low-carb trend, according to the research.
While low-carb dieting remains popular, it may be flattening out, researchers noted. Yet they also indicated they don't expect meat consumption rates to change much over the next few years. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans eat beef, 82% eat pork, and one-third eat veal. The meats are consumed fairly regularly by consumers who identify themselves as red meat eaters, with 55% eating red meat two or more times a week, and 25% eating it at least once a week. Fewer than 10% eat red meat less than once a month, the research found.
In their report, researchers also noted:
Hispanics are more likely than the overall population to eat beef, 85% compared to 75% on average.
Some 40% of respondents indicated they are concerned about hormones and additives to meat and poultry. Red meat, more so than other proteins, also raises health concerns with many consumers. Three out of four respondents agreed red meat is the least healthy of the meat/proteins surveyed, followed by poultry with just 8%; and fish or seafood, 6%. Findings were based on a phone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted in June. Mintel is a leading market research firm with offices here, as well as in London and Sydney, Australia.