Although price and value continue to lead consumer meat-purchasing decisions, a stronger economy is enabling some high-income shoppers to shift their focus toward convenience. That’s according to the annual Power of Meat survey published by American Meat Institute (AMI) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) earlier this week.

According to the report, “At dinner, convenience is growing in importance, as demonstrated by a greater interest in heat-and-eat and ready-to-eat  meats, as well as the ease/time of preparation in consumer purchasing decisions and the types of meals people are preparing more often, including under-20-minute meals and one-pot meals.”

The survey, commissioned jointly by AMI and FMI, details the findings of a national online poll of 1,425 consumers conducted in December 2012.

According to AMI and FMI, highlights of the report include:

  • For the first time in eight years, the number of meals grocery shoppers prepared that featured a portion of protein declined from 4.1 to 3.6 meals/week, but the share of shoppers eating meat and poultry at least once/week remained stable at 93%. Portion control, driven by the quest to save money and protein diversity, is the primary catalyst for change.
  • While shoppers continue to display a great degree of flexibility, switching between brands, species and cuts, a greater share of shoppers reported preferring national brands outright. Despite that trend, shoppers preferring private-brand meat and poultry held steady. Higher-income households, in particular, reported a return to an outright preference for national brands.
  • The share of shoppers who have purchased natural and/or organic meat and poultry rose to 26%, with a particularly high penetration among higher-income shoppers. Most notably, 73% of supermarket shoppers purchase organic/natural meat at their primary store, the highest level in eight years.