December 7, 2015

Quality Across Generations

Each generation of consumers brings a new set of demands and expectations, and red meat consumers are no exception. A recent Cargill study of more than 8,000 fresh meat consumers revealed that 51% buy on “quality.”  However, the definition of quality varies by generation.

“Understanding the quality cues across generations is vital so we can deliver what consumers are looking to buy,” says Brian Bell, Cargill Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Cargill looked at Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials, examining their fresh meat attitudes, needs and behaviors.

“Baby Boomers as a whole are meat lovers and our most loyal consumers; however, they represent a true dichotomy when it comes to how they define quality,” says Bell. The study showed that for some Baby Boomers, quality is defined in the most traditional sense: grade, marbling, juiciness and tenderness. These consumers are willing to pay more for premium characteristics. The rest of the Baby Boomers group comprises meat lovers who place value at the top of their priorities when purchasing red meat. These consumers see red meat as a commodity, expecting a safe, quality product but not willing to pay extra for it.



On the other hand, Gen Xers view quality not only as the tenderness of the product, but also as their ability to discern where, how and by whom their food was produced. “Quality to this group truly means transparency of how their food was raised,” says Bell. Lastly, much like the Gen Xers, Millennials care about food with a story but are not always willing to pay for these claims. “This young group is still building their household incomes and figuring out their routines. Because they are not comfortable with preparing red meat, they look for options that are easy and foolproof,” says Bell.

The study revealed that some Baby Boomers, Gen X and some Millennial consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that can tout claims like Made in the USA, antibiotic-free and naturally raised.

“Through our work, we’ve been able to prioritize which claims are most relevant and meaningful to consumers,” says Bell. “We’re making strides to help meet these demands but also recognize the importance of educating consumers so they understand what these claims really mean.”

Bell was recently interviewed on red meat habits across generations for National Provisioner’s annual consumer trends report. To see the full story, check out the November issue of National Provisioner or click here to register and view it online.