Meat Demand Monitor: one-stop-shop for consumer trends

Meat demand research at Kansas State reveals consumers’ protein preferences and purchase patterns.

The University uses a “Meat Demand Monitor,” or MDM, to track habits and demands. Dr. Glynn Tonsor, head of the project, shared an important but not surprising finding: retail beef has increased while foodservice demand has decreased

In fact, a third of people surveyed said that they would not return to immediate restaurant dining, even after they are vaccinated.

The Meat Demand Monitor serves as a one-stop-shop for the Beef Checkoff program and helps producers stay aware of consumer trends.

That study also asked the question, “Are plant-based meat alternatives cutting into beef demand?” In short, the answer is yes, but it is a smaller factor than other issues in the industry.

In restaurants, plant-based alternatives are usually priced higher than real meat. The study found, more than anything else, beef prices are most sensitive to the price of chicken.

“One of the experiments was, ‘what is the impact of a plant-based item being added to a restaurant menu in place of a chicken wrap?’ And we looked at what does that do to the share of people picking a beef burger and so forth. There’s a small decline in beef burger selections when that happens, but it’s small. A less than 3 percent change,” Dr. Tonsor states.

He also says that could change with time as the quality of plant-based products goes up and prices come down.


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