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Meat and Poultry Product Innovations Rise Dramatically

Wednesday, August 27, 1997

Meat and poultry product introductions are up nearly 30 percent in 1997 as meat and poultry processors strive to provide better tasting and more convenient products to consumers.

To highlight one of the most dramatic but overlooked trends of the 1990’s, the American Meat Institute (AMI) has released a new ad designed to showcase this product innovation. The ad -- which features Phil Clemens, president and CEO of Hatfield Quality Meats, in Hatfield, PA and some of the other 48 Clemens family members that work at the company -- underscores a major trend of the 1990’s: the explosive growth of new meat and poultry products designed to simplify meals while also providing great taste and nutrition.

According to New Product News, which reports on trends in food marketing and product development, meat and poultry processors are introducing new products in record amounts, especially value-added products that offer time savings and convenience. Using 1997 statistics, New Product News has counted 415 new product introductions in the processed meat and poultry category just between January and July of this year. This compares to 327 new products introduced during the same time period in 1996.

“Contrary to popular opinion, Americans are eating more meat and poultry than they used to -- the average person has increased his or her meat consumption by more than 1½ pounds a year since 1985. The reason is innovation. As more Americans look for ways to meet the demands of both a family and a career, the meat and poultry industry is responding with new products that stress convenience, quick methods of preparation, good taste and nutrition,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.

Besides the sheer volume of new offerings in the processed meat and poultry category, New Product News reports that certain products are “hot properties,” such as dinner sausage, which now accounts for 54 percent of all sausage sold. Beyond the traditional Polish kielbasa and Italian sausage, the category has experienced phenomenal growth from gourmet flavored sausages of all kinds. As a result, sausage sales are climbing because consumers want new taste experiences and are attracted to the uniqueness, versatility and lower fat benefits of these new products.

Another trend setter in the meat category is pork, with a the variety of new “consumer-ready” products that are designed to make the consumer’s time in the kitchen as hassle-free as possible. With a focus on ease of preparation, more new pork products are now on the market that are preseasoned and ready-to-cook, such as smaller pork loins, marinated pork roasts and pork chops. At the same time, many more pork products are now available in single portion sizes or in portions to serve two or three people, capitalizing on the trend towards single households and smaller families.

Because of these innovations and an increasing array of new product offerings, New Product News finds that processed meat and poultry products are becoming increasingly attractive to consumers of all incomes and age levels. Further supporting this conclusion is a recent survey of 1,000 households conducted by the NPD Group, revealing that almost three-fourths of all households purchase some type of processed meat item at least once a month. According to the “Consumer Purchase Behavior of Processed Meats at Retail” study, lunch meat accounts for more than 40 percent of all processed meat purchased, followed by sausage with a 25 percent share.

But while these meat trends are readily apparent, information for the consumer is not. That’s why AMI is calling public attention to what is happening in the marketplace through a national newspaper advertising campaign which uses real people from within the industry to address issues of public concern and interest. AMI also has a web site -- www.meatami.org -- where consumers can learn more about products available from the meat and poultry industry.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and turkey products and their supplies throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors educational programs.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
James Ratchford
Manager, Public Affairs

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