Food & Beverage Manufacturing

Meat & Seafood

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With U.S. retail sales of meat and poultry product at $85 billion in 2012, up from nearly $73 billion in 2008, the category is expected to grow to $98.3 billion by 2017.1

Sales of fish and seafood products in U.S. retail outlets hit $14.7 billion in 2012, up slightly from $13.3 billion in 2008, and are expected to grow to $17.1 billion by 2017.1 Economic conditions created an overall fish and seafood category slowdown in unit and volume sales, though prepared and raw fish and seafood products were the exception.1  

Formulators can help invigorate meat and seafood on a global scale with the help of U.S. dairy ingredients. These ingredients can help reduce cost and improve nutritional profiles while maintaining and creating the flavors consumers crave.  

A variety of functional benefits are also available through U.S. dairy ingredients. Concentrated and dry milk ingredients enhance stable emulsifications and provide water-binding properties. Lactose boosts color intensity, helps control browning and masks salty and bitter flavors. Whey proteins contribute to a food's healthful image, provide outstanding fat distribution and improve water retention and texture. These attributes, among many others, help food and beverage manufacturers develop better meat and seafood products. Dairy ingredients and products from the United States help product developers keep on-trend with innovation in the meat and seafood category. Learn more about U.S. dairy products in the Product Section.

Meat & seafood

Trends in Meat and Seafood

Shifts in dietary trends as well as economic factors are behind per capita declines in U.S. meat consumption over the last decade. As consumers reduce portion sizes or eliminate red meat from one or more meals per week to trim budgets, calories or cholesterol, they consume less red meat in favor of poultry or protein substitutes.1  

While one in five meal preparers serve meat, poultry or seafood for dinner regularly, and 29% report they are eating more fish/seafood, 80% of households now eat meatless meals-defined as no meat, poultry, or seafood protein-for dinner on occasion.2  

However, meat and seafood product category sales continue to rise with demand for consumer convenience products in frozen and refrigerated retail cases.  

Consumer Convenience

From globally inspired herb flavors to smoked and fruit fusions, new meat products trend toward the flavorful. Value-added convenience products that appeal to consumers who lack either cooking skills or the time for traditional meat preparation fuel overall category growth despite per capita consumption declines.1  

Convenience factors drive meat and seafood product development, with ready-to-eat and portion-control items among the top trends expected to drive sales through 2017.3   

Dairy ingredients such as milkfat and a variety of whey products, including sweet whey, whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, can help act as flavor carriers to help these products taste as good as they sound.  


U.S. dairy ingredients offer meat and seafood formulators a wide variety of options that will allow them to meet consumer trends. Ingredients such as cheese, lactose, milkfat, milk powders and whey proteins can help enhance numerous applications, ranging from bratwurst and bologna to surimi.  

The below chart illustrates the benefits five common dairy ingredients offer.

 Cheese (Details)Lactose (Details)Milkfat (Details)Milk Powders (Details)Whey Protein(Details)
Adhesion       yes yes
Browning   yes      
Color yes yes      
Emulsification       yes  
Fat Reduction yes     yes  
Flavor yes yes yes yes  
Gel Forming         yes
Moisture Retention         yes
Mouthfeel       yes yes
Stability   yes      
Texture yes       yes
Water Binding       yes yes
  Cheese Details Lactose Details Milkfat Details Milk Powder Details Whey Details

Formulas & Recipes

Access U.S. Dairy Export Council prototype formulations for inspiration formulating tasty meat and seafood applications, including bologna, sausages, ham, ground beef patties and surimi.

Hot Dog

Hot Dog

Hot dogs with WPC 80 used to replace a portion of the pork.


Surimi Seafood Product

Surimi Seafood Product

Surimi-style seafood product made with WPC 80 and crab flavoring.


Surimi Seafood Formula with WPC 80

Surimi Seafood Formula with WPC 80

Surimi-style seafood product with WPC 80, no added sugar.


Resources & Insights

Looking for further innovation ideas and technical support? Download the resources below for more information on developing meat and seafood applications with U.S. Dairy.

U.S. Whey Proteins in Processed Meats

The use of whey ingredients in processed meats offers a variety of benefits, such as taste, texture and binding.

Advantages of Whey Proteins in Meats

Whey protein offers benefits that make it an excellent choice in a wide range of meat products. 

1Packaged Facts. Food Industry Bundle: Meat and Poultry Trends in the U.S. & Fish and Seafood Trends in the U.S.
2Sloan, E. The Top Ten Functional Food Trends. Food Technology. April 2014, Vol. 68, No. 4.  
3Addy, R. Freedonia Outlines Meat, Poultry, Seafood Packaging Trends. May 31, 2013.