Demand for premium meats continues to rise despite inflationary pressures, and producers are innovating with a steady supply of new products to keep retailers and consumers happy.

“Consumers are deriving value from quick and hassle-free solutions to put a wholesome meal on the table,” said Monica Camarin, senior brand manager for Merriam, Kan.-based Seaboard Foods’ Prairie Fresh label.

Prairie Fresh brand USA Prime pork is “as close as we’ve ever come to pork perfection,” she said.

“It’s the top tier of all Prairie Fresh pork based on marbling, color and tenderness.”

Prairie Fresh USA Prime undergoes a three-criteria evaluation process that uses industry-leading proprietary technology to measure quality attributes and sort top-tier cuts for a higher level of consistency, Camarin said.

The result is “restaurant-quality right at home.” Varieties in the line include pork loin back ribs, pork tenderloin, bone-in pork shoulder butt, boneless pork loin, spareribs and bacon.

Prairie Fresh introduced Prairie Fresh USA Prime at the Annual Meat Conference in 2023. Camarin said the line fills a void in the meat case, not only providing products customers crave but also helping deliver value to retailers.

“We’ve seen great success already,” she said. “Consumers are in search of premium cuts to help re-create restaurant-quality meals at home.”

The demand for premium meats isn’t as high as it was a few years ago, but it’s still strong, said Michael Uetz, principal of Midan Marketing.

Currently, celebrations are the primary driver in the premium category, Uetz said.

“One of the top ways we see consumers saving money right now is by dining out less. This year’s Power of Meat report showed that 71% of consumers say they are eating out less and 87% of those say they are trying to recreate restaurant meals at home.”

Instead of an anniversary dinner at the local steakhouse, consumers are picking up premium steaks to cook at home to save a few dollars.

Many shoppers are still hosting friends and family less often than they did pre-pandemic, but they’re willing to splurge on a more premium product when entertaining.

Pre-seasoned and marinated premium products

Another Prairie Fresh premium product line enjoying strong growth is Prairie Fresh Signature, the brand’s line of pre-seasoned and marinated pork products.

“It provides consumers with exactly what they’re looking for — value and convenience — in one package,” Camarin said. “Home cooks of all skill levels can rely on Prairie Fresh Signature products to make a great meal.”

 As consumers continue to navigate economic stress and inflation, finding high-value products in the grocery store is more crucial than ever, she added.

With the current per-pound price, pork provides exceptional value to consumers, as well as culinary versatility thanks to a variety of cuts, added flavors and countless preparations that can satisfy nearly any tastebud.

According to The Power of Meat 2023 report, 57% of consumers said meat quality and appearance were top reasons for choosing where they purchase meat products.

With shoppers being more mindful and observant about where their food is sourced from and how it’s grown and raised, Camarin said, retailers are constantly in search of quality products and reliable partners.

“Prairie Fresh recognized this gap in the market and, in response, developed Prairie Fresh USA Prime. We also continue to monitor consumer trends that inspire new flavors and cuts; plus, we track sales data to ensure our products are performing well.”

This article is an excerpt from the November 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Premium Cuts feature and more in the digital edition here.