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Proteins Raised Without Antibiotics


Proteins Raised Without Antibiotics

Today’s restaurant patrons are motivated by personal health, environmental concerns and animal welfare.1 With growing consumer concerns around the exposure to unnecessary antibiotics, many operators are seeking alternatives to conventional meat products produced with antibiotics.2

According to the Food and Drug Administration, 80% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used for food-producing animals.2 When it comes to the subject of antibiotic use, it’s important for operators, along with their patrons, to be able to identify the differences in antibiotic claims in protein products. The claim “no human antibiotics” means that animal antibiotics may have been used for the prevention or treatment of diseases in the animal. The “all natural” and “clean label” claims may mean that animal antibiotics and/or human antibiotics may have been used.  

Because of these growing concerns about exposure to unnecessary antibiotics among health-conscious consumers, many have started buying natural and organic meat and poultry to avoid them.3

In a nationwide poll conducted by Consumer Reports, 86% of consumers indicated that meat raised without antibiotics should be available in their supermarket.4While antibiotic-free beef, pork and chicken account for only around 5% of meat sold in the U.S., their growth trajectory is transforming the broader marketplace. In particular, production of chicken raised without the routine use of antibiotics has become part of the mainstream.5

According to a 2014 Technomic report, 63% of respondents said they were willing to pay more for premium poultry, such as no antibiotics ever, cage free and all-vegetarian fed poultry.6 Since 2014, antibiotic-free mentions have risen 27% on U.S. menus. About 91% of antibiotic-free claims originated from the entrée mealpart. Burgers account for the largest share of antibiotic-free claims across menus, with the next most represented items being:

  • Chicken sandwiches
  • Center-of-the-Plate chicken entrées
  • Entrée salads7

As the demand for cleaner ingredients and menu transparency increases, the demand from operators for premium, antibiotic-free proteins is likely to rise as well. While the USDA "continues to strengthen its efforts" against antibiotic resistance8, many operators are updating their menus to feature “cleaner” ingredients, like top-quality proteins.9 Premium menu claims can help operators attract health-conscious customers while simultaneously increasing menu sales.

Content courtesy of Perdue Foodservice

1 National Resources Defense Council, “Going mainstream: Meat and Poultry Raised Without Routine Antibiotic Use,” 12/2015

2 National Resources Defense Council, “Food, Farm Animals and Drugs,”

3 Midan Marketing: Antibiotics and Growth Hormones: The Consumer Mindset, February 2014

4Consumer Reports, “Meat on Drugs,” June 2012

5 Food Management, “UCLA Hospitals Switch To Antibiotic-Free Meat to Fight Superbugs,” April 2014

6 Technomic, “Consumer Attitudes Towards Value-Added Poultry in Foodservice,” October 2014

7Technomic, MenuMonitor, May 2015

8 Reuters, “US Plans to Dig Deeper on Antibiotic Given to Livestock,” 3/30/15

9 QSR, “Cleaning Up,” November 2015