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In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, across the world, consumers stampeded to the grocery shelves, prompting weeks of unprecedented sales of groceries as they stocked up on all kinds of essentials, including meat. But the pandemic also changed their perspective about what groceries were “clean” and healthy for their families.
Consumers are buying more “natural” products
Consumers have changed purchase patterns since the pandemic took hold, from fewer trips to the store and larger basket purchases to purchasing fresh produce that is prepackaged. Consumers are also taking the time to search out products with “clean” label claims such as “all natural,” a trend which is increasing, reports Food Business News.
In a survey performed by Kerry, a taste and nutrition company, food safety was a priority for consumers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. Brian Nevin, vice president of food protection at Kerry, said that consumers are searching for meat with “free from” claims on product labels, as well as fewer artificial ingredients such as meat preservatives.
In the United States, claims-based meat availability was inconsistent in the early months of COVID-19, which affected purchase ability. However, sales in this category, which includes organic, grass-fed and antibiotic-related claims, reported unprecedented growth rates, reports Watt Ag News. Specifically, claims-based meat and poultry sales increased 31.9% in dollars from March through July 2020.
Consumers drive future antibiotic-free poultry production
As people around the world return to the familiar amid COVID-19, many of these “clean label” trends in consumption and shopping patterns are likely to continue, global experts say. For example, poultry production in Southeast Asia is rapidly growing due to an increased demand for animal protein. As protein demand increases, additional questions surrounding antibiotic use for curative and preventative applications in livestock production systems have come to light.
Varium® Supports Claims-Based Meat Production
As claims-based meat production continues to hold extra value for consumers, poultry producers will need strategies to maintain flock health while meeting consumer demand for antibiotic-free meat. As an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters (AGP), Varium® a patented natural, mineral-based performance additive from Amlan International, can improve performance through reduced mortality and increased feed efficiency.
Incorporating Varium into poultry production systems can support broilers’ immune systems to improve their natural defense against pathogens. By approaching ways to reduce the necessity of antibiotics in the food production system, integrators have a greater impact on the economic health of their flocks and operations.
As the demand for claims-based poultry meat grows in the months ahead, Varium can help producers maintain a global protein supply for consumers worldwide.