Eight out of ten retail packages of chicken already carry nutritional information, according to the latest Cryovac meat case study, putting the industry in a strong position to meet a 2012 deadline for nutritional labeling required by federal law.

The study showed that 80 percent of chicken packages in the retail meat case had nutritional information on them.  So did 90 percent of turkey packages, 81 percent of ground beef, 53 percent of pork, and 29 percent of beef, according to Jerry Kelly of Cryovac, Sealed Air Corporation, who presented results of the 2010 study to the Chicken Marketing Seminar in Squaw Valley, California, this week.

Jerry Kelly
Jerry Kelly of Cryovac/Sealed Air Corporation reported that 80 percent of retail chicken packages already carry nutritional labeling.

Single-ingredient packages of fresh chicken are required by law to carry nutritional labels by January 1, 2012.

The study, funded by Cryovac, Sealed Air Corporation and the pork and beef checkoff programs, involves a physical count of all packages of beef, pork, veal, chicken, turkey, and lamb, including sausage, heat and serve, and value-added products, in supermarkets across the country.  The study was last conducted in 2007.

Other highlights of the study included:

The total number of packages of enhanced product across all species increased from 19 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2010.  Some 27 percent of chicken packages contained enhanced product, compared with 42 percent of pork, 15 percent of beef, and 14 percent of turkey.

“Chicken is still the leader in the heat and serve category, but beef and pork have gained share,” Kelly said.  In the heat and serve category, 39 percent of packages were chicken products, 29 percent were beef, 23 percent were pork, 7 percent were turkey, and 2 percent were other species.

Pork is the leader in value-added products, with 44 percent of the packages in that category containing pork. Twenty-four percent were chicken products, 15 percent were beef, 11 percent were turkey, 4 percent were ground beef, and 2 percent were other products.

Natural claims appear on 59 percent of chicken packages, 61 percent of turkey packages, 42 percent of veal, 38 percent of lamb, 31 percent of ground beef, 18 percent of pork, and 5 percent of beef.

Two percent of chicken packages carried an organic claim, more than any other species.

Thirty-five percent of chicken packages carried a store brand label, 56 percent were supplier brands, and 9 percent had no brand.