Meats: a growing business, playing the right cards

Fiera Milano, Rho


Meats: a growing business, playing the right cards

Sustainability and animal welfare. But also gourmet products and classic meat cuts revisited. Here is how meats are responding to the new consumers needs. It goes boom.

Meat yes or no? In recent years, meat has been at the center of a twofold phenomenon: value appreciation on the one hand, related to the growing popularity of protein diets, and vegetarian lifestyle and plant substitutes booming on the other hand. The data tell us, however, that for consumers the answer is definitely a ‘yes to meat’: according to data from the statistics portal Statista, the value of the world market will be close to $1.2 trillion this year and will grow by +7.8 percent per year on average in the coming years until 2027. In Europe the market is now worth more than $ 381 billion, almost a third of the world total, and will be close to $ 500 billion by 2027.


As for Italy, a country with a centuries-old tradition in cured meats in particular, the numbers from the trade association Assica report that domestic consumption of cured meats in 2021 increased by +5.4 percent in volume, while exports grew by +15.2 percent in volume and +12 percent in value. In January-June 2022, exports rose to 95,006 tons (+4.1 percent) for sales of € 925.6 million (+9.5 percent). Cured raw hams (prosciutto) were at the forefront of the growth, but salami also performed well. Countries whose imports from Italy increased the most include France (+9.8 percent in quantity and +12.2 percent in value), Sweden (+17.1 percent and +18.6 percent) and Poland (+36.9 percent and +38.7 percent).



Consumers call and the companies respond


Credit also undoubtedly goes to the ability of producers to anticipate and interpret new consumer trends. Sustainability and animal welfare, convenience and speed of preparation, as well as appetizing offerings and revisiting "less valuable" cuts for new uses, such as barbecue, are just some of the demands consumers are making to the companies.


"It is no 'secret', but consumers are buying using their common sense,” comments Valeria Fiorani, Marketing Manager of Fiorani (Inalca Group). "They want more environment awareness and healthy eating and should be given more information to evaluate labeling correctly, for example. Even plant-based alternatives often are ultra-processed products."


"We have launched a sensible consumption project, the Animal Welfare Chain," Fiorani continued. "Only Italian pigs raised without antibiotics for the past 120 days, meeting biosecurity standards. Welfare is ensured on 100% of the supply chain through DQA controls and certifications: lower density, adequate space, and calibrated nutrition plans. In addition, we have been making huge investments in R&D for years, to make products that are convenient and quick to cook."


"We are actually seeing a revival of meat, with a boom of BBQ where 'less noble' meat cuts are also good for faster cooking,"adds Centro Carni Company (meat center company). "Another boom characterizes gourmet offerings such as burgers, tartares, or dry-aged meats. Today, meat is also increasingly more and more adaptable to new uses, such as appetizers or one-dish meals."


"On the subject of quality as early as 2014, we activated a supply chain approach with Aberdeen Angus Sired, which was perfected in 2021. The supply chain allows more control over the raw meats at all stages and shorter supply chain, with a positive impact on the environment. We have also revised our packs, decreasing weight and size to avoid waste of plastic and paper."


Foreign producers considerations are very similar. "To meet the needs of consumers, we are increasingly focusing on quality and especially organic produce, but maintaining a competitive quality to price ratio with plant-based substitutes. We have introduced full traceability of every meat cut all the way to the livestock, favoring pasture-fed animals - so-called grass-fed and locally produced (zero km), with farms close to the slaughterhouses. Italy is a receptive market for quality products and we want to introduce some of our offerings there, such as frozen gourmet burgers,"concludes James Lucey, Managing Director of Food Kings (Germany).


A world that is in great turmoil, then, which at TUTTOFOOD 2023 - at Fiera Milano from May 8 to 11, 2023 - will find its natural home in the TUTTOMEAT area, while enhancing supply chain affinities with other sectors and trends insights in the rich program of events. To find out how to become an exhibitor at TUTTOFOOD visit this page. To participate as a professional visitor please go to this page.