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Beef survey finds consumers' preferences

Nationwide and Washington state consumer surveys by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association came up with the following results:

* Chicken is beef's major competitor, because it is perceived as lower in fat and calories, easier to prepare, better for children and less expensive.

* Consumer perceptions of beef are considerably more positive than perceptions of raising cattle.

* A quarter to a third of consumers are never comfortable with antibiotic use in cattle production.

* Consumers are more comfortable with technology when used for the animal's welfare.

* Millennials -- those born between 1980 and 2000, about a quarter of the U.S. population -- are less knowledgeable about beef and largely make decisions based on social media. "They love it, but are super-uneducated on how to prepare it," Wendy Neuman, NCBA director of market research, said.

* Millennials are more concerned than older generations about animal welfare and the environmental impacts of production.

* A big limiting factor on consumption of beef at home is the inconvenience and lack of knowledge about defrosting.

* Seattle and Tacoma consumers see beef and chicken equally favorably as packages of total nutrition.

* They are satisfied with the quality of beef dishes in restaurants, though they dine out less often.

* The top information sources about beef are, in descending order, food labels, television news and cooking programs, relatives and friends, newspapers and Internet searches. The least accessed sources are large-animal veterinarians, meat industry websites, pamphlets and restaurant staff.

-- National Cattlemen's Beef Association

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