Dating back to ancient times, ground beef has a long history that spans cultures and continents. And for 97% of fresh red meat purchasers, ground beef is still on the grocery list. But what factors will keep ground beef relevant into the future?
Cargill initiated a study of more than 8,000 fresh meat consumers to better understand attitudes, needs and behaviors. “We evaluated ground beef purchase behavior to take a deeper look at the lean points, source grinds and innovations that consumers are looking to see,” says Brian Bell, Cargill Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re using these learnings to help our partners evolve their ground beef strategy.”
Convenience, freshness and ease of use are top product benefits that consumers are looking to find across the meat case. “Adding value through packaging technology will play a key role in the future of ground beef,” advises Bell. “Similarly, product enhancements like flavors, seasonings and reduced cook also influence consumers’ purchase decisions.”
Younger, millennial-age parents often fall in the middle of the scale when it comes to the lean to fat ratio they are looking to purchase. “This group is the future of ground beef,” Bell advises. They are willing to pay a little more for quality and prefer to use a source grind, often ground round or ground sirloin. “Across all proteins we are seeing that food with a story influences this group and ground beef is no exception,” says Bell.
At the far end of the scale, more experienced cooks seek both quality and flavor when making their ground beef selection. This group is likely to select ground chuck and prefer at least 90% lean ground beef.
The future of ground beef is indeed bright. For more on consumer motivation and purchase behavior, contact a Cargill sales representative.
 2015 Cargill Proprietary Red Meat Consumer Study