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When consumers are dining at a restaurant or shopping at the grocery store meat case, what are they considering the most when making a meal decision? Taste.

That’s what Beejan Mehrabani, director of market research with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told Wagyu breeders during the American Wagyu Association 2021 annual conference in Fort Collins, Colo. “When a consumer is trying to decide what protein to eat, they’re really looking for something that’s great tasting, safe to eat and a good value for the money.”

Beef producers saw a significant increase in beef demand during 2020, as COVID lockdowns put an end to dining out. In fact, 83% of consumers were cooking meals at home in 2020, a 25% increase over 2019. “And that number has stayed stable,” he said, with 74% of consumers cooking meals at home in 2021. “And of those consumers, 89% say they’re going to continue doing so.”

And,15% of consumers say they will eat more beef in the future. “And it really revolves around taste. Consumers love the way beef tastes and that’s the reason they’re planning to eat more of it in the future.”