June 22, 2017

Flavor Trends in Fresh Meat

Article 3When it comes to fresh meat, flavor is a key driver for consumers when deciding what to purchase, prepare and ultimately serve their family and friends. The challenge for retailers is understanding how consumers define flavor today and how to keep up with the emerging features, benefits and claims that consumers see as adding flavor.

Traditionally, flavor has been defined by the type of seasoning, marinades or sauces a person chooses. However, at Cargill, we believe flavor has a much bigger meaning to consumers. That’s why we invested in a proprietary consumer research study among 5,000 consumers, focused on uncovering the ideal sensory experience. The study included questions ranging from preferred preparation method, form, texture and appearance to preferred seasoning/marinades, sauces, pre-added ingredients, packaging and key claims from a nutrition, taste, sustainability and quality of meat standpoint.

“The most important thing for retailers to understand is that today’s modern consumer is defining flavor based on how all the components of a meal work together,” said Sarah Frick, Cargill Value Added Brand Manager. “The type of flavor for seasoning and marinade, like Teriyaki or Garlic & Herb, is still a key component, but if it’s not combined with other preferred flavor cues, the chances of the product succeeding are highly unlikely.”

Cargill identified more than ten different platforms, each representing an opportunity to deliver against a unique sensory experience. The following two platforms identify the leading flavor cues for each and how Cargill has used that information to create solutions for customers.



  • New, innovative flavors that represent a specific part of the world
  • Meat as a topping (shredded, strips, sliced)
  • Recipes inspired by street vendors
  • Smaller portion sizes or bite sized

Cargill’s Rumba Meats® brand, which is specifically designed with the Hispanic consumer in mind, is a great example. Rumba offers high quality variety meats and specialty cuts to celebrate cultural traditions, ignite creativity and spark imagination in meal creation.



  • Complex flavors (bold, spicy)
  • In a sandwich (whole, sliced)
  • Recipes inspired by restaurants
  • Extra tender and juicy, thick cut

Cargill’s newest offering Create & Plate™, 100% angus beef patties packaged with unique, flavorful, indulgent toppings. Varieties include the French Onion Burger, Caramelized Bacon Burger and the Balsamic Mushroom Burger.


Those who think of flavor trends in the traditional sense will run the risk of being passed up, and those who offer solutions that “bundle” these flavor cues the way consumers demand will better position themselves for short and long term growth.

To learn more about the results of this study and how Cargill is helping customers align their portfolio to meet consumer demand, contact your local Cargill Protein representative.