Thirty-one percent of consumers frequently purchase value-added meat, up from 21%, five years ago, according to the 2023 Power of Meat study.

The value-added category, said Rikki Ingram, director of fresh meats marketing for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, skews heavily toward consumers who prioritize convenience.

“The products you find in the self-serve meat case today can be summarized in one word: convenient,” she said. “Sliced, diced and cubed protein or pre-seasoned and marinated meats fill a weeknight meal with ease, and allow retailers to maintain high quality, consistent service for their shoppers.”

One value-added trend Tyson is tracking closely is increased consumer demand for new flavors.

Sixty-six percent of consumers say they like trying new flavors, and 36% say they’re more interested in trying new flavors now than they were a year ago, according to Unilever Food Solutions’ Bold Flavors Trend Guide.

Retailers looking to up their value-added meat games by tapping into the flavor trend, Ingram said, might consider mixing up their pork tenderloin value-added offerings with products featuring brown sugar and bacon flavors, seasoned steakhouse or chipotle, Ingram said.

Easy meals 

Consumers are busier than ever and looking for short cuts and hacks to make mealtime easier, said Alicia LaPorte, communications director for Westminster, Colo.-based Niman Ranch.

Thirty-five percent of shoppers say they often don’t have as much time to prepare dinner as they would like, she said, also citing new Power of data.

“Value-added products are the perfect solution to this common challenge, and Niman Ranch offers many value-added products to make meal prep easier.”

These include pre-seasoned pork chops (bacon wrapped with rosemary and herb, sea salt and cracked black pepper & cracked mustard seed), pulled pork (with and without BBQ sauce), and heat-and-eat ribs.

Niman Ranch pork chops packagingSource: Niman Ranch

 Niman Ranch pork ribs packagingSource: Niman Ranch

Consumers are watching their budgets closely and looking for ways to save each month, LaPorte said.

For many, that means eating out less frequently and preparing more meals at home. Value-added products, she said, are a great option for restaurant-quality meals at home, without the need for a sous-chef or several hours in front of the stove.

One of Niman Ranch’s most popular value-added items is its Applewood Smoked Pulled Pork, which won Parents Magazine’s Dinner Shortcut Food Awards.

Niman Ranch pulled pork packagingSource: Niman Ranch

With just four simple, clean ingredients, the product cuts the hours it takes in an oven to produce delicious pulled pork to simply opening a package—and the package is even compostable.

“And it’s not just fast, it’s also incredibly versatile, lending itself to many different cuisines and styles,” LaPorte said.