As consumers continue to be conscientious about their food choices, a new survey from the United Soybean Board reveals valuable insights into consumer preferences and purchasing attitudes for animal protein, particularly pork products. According to the survey, 70% of respondents say that animal diet is extremely or very important to them when purchasing meat, up from 51% in 2019.
Meat consumers who prefer soy-fed meat say it offers better health, higher quality, greater nutrition and better taste. This research confirms that consumers desire to know more about their meat choices, such as what poultry and livestock consume. When it comes to soybean meal, this nutritional package of protein, the amino acids that make it up, and energy concentration continues to be the standard for all other plant protein feedstuffs.
“It’s no secret that for poultry, livestock and seafood, U.S. soybean meal is an excellent source of nutrients including protein, which is why we grow our own soybeans to feed the pigs on our farm,” said Carla Schultz, checkoff farmer-leader and soybean and pig farmer from Michigan. “Highlighting consumer preference for pork products raised on a high-quality diet presents a real opportunity. Showing that soy is a favored feed ingredient among consumers adds value for our half-million U.S. soybean farmers,” Schultz shared on a recent Supermarket Perimeter webinar.
Other key takeaways from the survey include:
Consumers are buying pork more regularly, with 41% purchasing pork at least weekly — up from 37% in 2019. Additionally, 30% of millennial meat consumers say they buy pork two to three times a week.
Three out of four consumers (77%) are more likely to purchase meat if it’s raised and fed by U.S. farmers. Even higher than that, the majority of consumers (88%) are more likely to purchase meat from animals born, bred and raised in the U.S.
Nearly all U.S. consumers (96%) pay some attention to food labels. Knowing the animal was raised humanely and fed a nutritious diet are the leading food labels for trustworthy meat brands.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of consumers are more likely to purchase meat if it’s not fed synthetic ingredients, which bodes well for U.S. soybean meal as a natural ingredient.
“It’s inspiring to see the growing support for inclusive label transparency rather than exclusive marketing tactics,” said Wendy Vlieks, vice president of communications for USB. “This emphasizes the pivotal role of factual information on food labels across the food industry, where informed choices directly influence consumer behavior.”
Insights from the survey will help inform the checkoff’s communications investments and messaging to key consumers. In September, U.S. Soy and grocery chain Giant Eagle launched a collaboration to promote soy-fed pork to its customers. The checkoff has also partnered with Coborn’s and other large Midwestern retail chains on similar efforts. The goal is to show that consumers seek and may pay more for pork that’s fed sustainably grown U.S. soy meal.
USB commissioned global market research firm Reputation Leaders to survey more than 2,000 U.S. adults online spanning 30% Baby Boomers, 26% Gen X, 31% Millennials and 14% Gen Z.