dad carving roast chicken at table

Transparency became important

Negative public relations campaigns by animals rights groups made the welfare of animals used for food a major issue during the 2010s. In a 2013 survey from the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, nearly 60% of respondents said it was very important to them that restaurants and grocery stores provide information about how food is grown and raised.

As a result, many poultry producers and retailers worked to become more transparent about how birds were raised, fed and handled.

One good example is the Good Egg Project by the American Egg Board. The website gave consumers a way to “learn more about where eggs from” and the efforts by egg farmers to “take care of our communities, hens and planet.”

Plant-based options were everywhere

Ten years ago, vegans and vegetarians were the primary market for plant-based food. Today, nearly 90% of the people who buy plant-based proteins do not identify as vegan or vegetarian. Flexitarians cite environmental and health concerns as reasons to reduce, but not totally eliminate meat consumption.

Sales of plant-based food, currently valued at $4.5 billion, increased 31% over the last two years.

Technology changed how consumers eat

Believe it or not, only 35% of US adults owned a smartphone at the start of the 2010s. Today, that number has more than doubled to 81%.

As smartphones became more popular, new apps made it easier and more convenient to order home-delivered groceries, meal kit delivery services and meals from any restaurant imaginable. Fast-paced lifestyles and busy schedules has led to an increased interest in takeout, with off-premises dining accounting for more than a quarter of all restaurant industry sales in 2018.

Organic and antibiotic-free became buzzwords

Consumers went crazy for organic and antibiotic-free poultry in the past decade. Sales of organic food doubled during the time period, according to the Organic Trade Association.

Concerns over antibiotic-resistant bacteria in human products made consumers focus on the use of antibiotics in food producing poultry. Chicken producer Tyson Foods shifted their entire product line to “No Antibiotics Ever." Fieldale Farms announced 100% antibiotic-free operations in 2013.