Consumer Perception Reality For Beef?
beef continues to win consumers.
When deciding what
protein to eat, today’s consumer is still looking for a tasty experience,
and beef is delivering, according to Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen's Beef Board
chief executive officer.
This was highlighted
in the Consumer Beef Index (CBI), a key research survey the beef checkoff
fields twice a year to track changes in consumers’ perceptions of and demand
for beef relative to other meat proteins, assess the impact of the beef
industry’s communications efforts on consumers and measure the extent to
which consumers consider the positive aspects of beef to outweigh the negatives.
The most recent survey
conducted on more than 1,000 consumers showed that 77% listed beef as their
first protein choice or a top choice when it came to proteins overall.
Ninety-three percent reported eating beef at least monthly.
While this reflects
strong results, Rhuland said the weekly frequency of beef consumption has
declined. Survey results showed that the proportion of heavy beef users
(those eating beef more than three times a week) stands at only 25% in
this wave, down significantly from 44% a decade ago.
“There is less beef
available on a per capita basis than in the year 2000, but while that has
changed in the past two years, the perception by consumers is that beef
prices are higher, so they are eating less beef,” she explained.
The CBI helps the
beef checkoff understand why consumers say they are eating less beef and
address those concerns through advertising campaigns, social channels and
in grocery stores.
“We are seeing ongoing
concerns about nutrition. Nutrition is important to the consumer in making
that dinner decision,” Rhuland said.
According to Rhuland,
more people are saying, “I think there’s something else out there that’s
healthier,” but they aren’t calling out saturated fats or heart health
specifically as they did in the past.
In addition, beef
lags behind chicken on value in the consumer’s mind, she added.
Still, there have
been positive upswings regarding the taste, safety and knowledge of how
to cook beef.
Within the CBI is
a second tracker, the Consumer Image Index, that asks about perceptions
of how cattle are raised. Rhuland said sustainability wasn’t even on the
radar five years ago, but it certainly is a factor today.
Through a series
of deeper-dive questions in the Consumer Image Index, consumers revealed
that they like age-old traditions such as the heritage of beef producers,
but they also like to know that the most cutting-edge animal care practices
are in place.
from the study reinforces the need to humanize our industry and document
how our industry has progressed, and we need our story to be out there,”
Rhuland said. “We are producing the best product we’ve ever produced, and
consumers love it. That’s not perception; that’s reality!”