Low-fat products are proving just the ticket

Better-for-you options continue to dominate the trends in the meat products category. Low-fat and low-calorie claims were the most-used on products this quarter, along with the introduction of products that are free of artificial additives, preservatives and gluten, according to research carried out by Mintel. Another focus has been the ability for meats to be prepared and ready-to-eat in an instant for time-pressed consumers.

Packaging innovations focused on products that were appealing to the eye, while premium-grade meats were still noteworthy, despite a decline in launches, it added. Europe was the most profilic region in terms of new meat product launches, followed by North America and Asia Pacific.

There was a wealth of meat product carrying the low/no/reduced fat claim. This claim, says Mintel, has been made popular due, in part, to manufacturers addressing the issue of unhealthy fat intake. Consumers looking to leaner meat alternatives, such as poultry-based foods, now have lower-fat red meat options to add to their meals, such as leaner sausages and ham. Mintel says convenience continues to be a highly sought-after attribute in the packaged goods industry. As a result, there has been an expansion of such products in the meat sector, including options that can be cooked in the microwave and those that are ready-to-eat.

To shorten preparation time even further, some options come packed with the necessary sauces to add the finishing touch.

The introduction of products with no additives/preservatives has been increasing of late, as manufacturers are using natural formulations in their products instead of artificial additives and chemicals. A recent examples is Waitrose's Chilli Beef with Chilli Sauce. It is free from monosodium glutamate or other flavour enhancers. Also available under this badging is Chef's Special Szechuan Pork, Beef in Oyster Sauce and Chef's Special Malay Curry.

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