Trend Map identified what's hot in red meat

by Keith Nunes
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NEW YORK — A new study from Packaged Facts and the Center for Culinary Development has identified several trends that may have an impact on meat and poultry processors. The report, "Meat: Culinary Trend Mapping Report," breaks various trends into five stages, with those just emerging at the fine-dining level identified as being in stage 1 and products on retail store shelves identified as being in stage 5.

Stage 1 products include goat meat and fatty pork bellies.

"Right now, goat meat is primarily consumed by ethnic audiences already accustomed to it," said the report. "Muslims, Hispanics, Jamaicans, Greeks, Africans, Pacific Islanders and many Asians and Indians braise, roast and grill goat meat. The U.S. goat industry is growing in response to this demand. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the goat meat inventory in the U.S. numbered 2.4 million head by the end of 2006, a 5% increase over 2005.

"Simultaneously, several high-end restaurants are using goat for signature dishes. In these restaurants, goat retains its ethnic guise; however, early adopters frequent these restaurants and may well push the emerging goat meat trend further up the Trend Map."

The indulgent nature of fatty pork bellies meshes with a growing appreciation for fattier meats, according to the report. Its versatility is also a plus for restaurant operators.

Ensconced in stages 2 through 4 are trends such as grass-fed beef, buffalo, niche pork and ethical meats.

At the apex of the Trend Map, in stage 5, is Angus beef. The authors note the Angus name signifies "high quality" to consumers and distinguishes Angus products from commodity-type items.

"Consumers want to know more about their meat (and) marketers are communicating more by identifying the Angus breed," said the report.

For more information on the "Meat: Culinary Trend Mapping Report," visit www.PackagedFacts.com.

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