American lamb anticipating meat trends for 2023

“As we look toward a new year, understanding the overarching trends happening in five key areas can help you anticipate your customers’ needs and keep meat in the mix,” according to the new report from Midan Marketing, 2023 Meat Trends to Watch.

“There are challenges ahead for the American Lamb industry, yet there are absolutely opportunities. But the entire industry will need to make changes to improve our competitiveness and profitability,” said Peter Camino, American Lamb Board chairman.

The Midan 2023 Meat Trends report is summarized below.

Economic pressures: At the meat case, while many are seeking less expensive cuts and are more open to experimenting in the kitchen, others are trading up to premium meats at retail in lieu of dining out. During recessions, consumers tend to become loyal to brands/products that match their personal values, the Midan report notes. Lamb has seen retail sales increase and ALB has responded by increasing recipes and cookery education.

Sustainability: As this issue continues to trend, it also continues to evolve. There are more definitions of this one topic than most of us can count. It’s critical for products and businesses to talk to customers about their sustainability efforts. Every effort adds up to something shoppers want to hear. Remember, economic struggles cause consumers to lean into brands/products that match their values. When it comes to the meat case, most consumers define sustainably raised meat by properties related to animal welfare. But in 2023, Midan expects to see some of the first “sustainable” or “carbon zero” meat products hit retail, which could help expand how consumers define sustainably raised meat.

ALB has closely watched how this issue influences consumers. In the upcoming months, ALB will be releasing results of its research at Michigan State University on industry sustainability, and mitigation strategies for 5 production styles. The checkoff board has already begun messaging to consumers about the benefits sheep have on the environment.

Health and well-being: Nearly four in 10 consumers who ate red meat more frequently in 2022 say it’s because they are trying to consume more protein. Simple ingredients and clean labels continue to interest consumers. Meat department consumers are showing less interest in plant-based meat alternatives, reports Midan.

Convenience: Snacks are back, with many desiring high protein options. Historically, meat snacks have been predominantly beef, but new products are expanding consumers’ options. Because of economic pressures, 62% of shoppers report opting for large snacks instead of meals—this number is even higher among Generation Z where a full 75% are replacing meals with snacks.

In recent years, retail sales of value-added meats have increased. Current economic pressures combined with Millennials’ and Gen Z’s desire for discovery is creating a perfect opening for this category, says Midan.

Technology: While much of the technology is supposed to make shopping easier and more convenient, it’s also attempting to create experiences that shoppers will be excited to try. H-E-B, Kroger and Amazon all have in-store shopping carts that act as tills, letting customers skip pulling out items at checkout.