Fresh meat retail cases in 104 supermarkets across 5 regions of the United States were audited for the use of packaging types and materials, branding, and cooking/nutritional information. Frequency means were separated for species of beef, ground beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and veal. Traditional polyvinyl chloride overwrap was used on 47.0% of packages in the fresh meat case nationwide and was the most frequent packaging type for beef, ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal. The use of modified atmosphere packaging was greatest (P < 0.001) in ground beef (33.2%) and turkey (45.1%) products. The 3 most common tray colors in the fresh meat retail case on a national level were white (39.6%), yellow (22.4%), and black (11.5%). Foam trays were used in 72.6% of all packages in the retail meat case. In 2004, 60.2% of all packages were case-ready. Chicken (94.8%) and turkey (95.6%) products utilized case-ready packaging systems more (P < 0.001) than any other species. On a national level, 50.1% of all products carried a national brand, 12.2% carried a store brand, and the remaining 37.7% of products in the fresh meat case in 2004 were not branded. Chicken was most (P < 0.001) likely to carry a natural brand label. Labels with cooking instructions were found most (P < 0.001) on pork (37.3%) and turkey products (48.1%). Chicken (20.4%) and turkey products (20.7%) were most (P < 0.001) likely to have the cooking instructions printed on the packaging material compared with all other species. Labels with nutritional information were most (P < 0.001) likely to be found on turkey products (55.7%) in the fresh meat case compared with any other species. On the national level, 6.1% of all packages reported in the fresh meat case in 2004 were value-added.
- Market survey