Beef Remains Consumer Favorite

March 2, 2021

Consumers who prefer beef over plant-based protein alternatives said they are willing to pay nearly two dollars more per meal for a burger when dining at a restaurant, according to a recent study from Kansas State University. The nationwide study involved more than 3,000 consumers that represented the population of the country and was conducted by K-State agricultural economists Glynn Tonsor and Ted Schroeder and Purdue University agricultural economist Jayson Lusk.  

Nearly 70% of respondents identified themselves as regular meat consumers, while the remainder identified with such alternative diets as vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or other. Tonsor said regular meat consumers reported being willing to pay $1.87 more per meal for a beef burger in a restaurant. They also would pay up to 29¢ more per pound for store-brand 80% lean ground beef at the grocery store. Those who prefer alternative diets would pay $1.48 more per meal in a restaurant and up to $2.32 per pound more in the grocery store.  

Although there is strong preference on both sides, the number of consumers choosing beef over plant-based alternatives is clearly in favor of the beef industry. The report notes that beef is consumed three times more often than plant-based proteins in the U.S. Among the factors influencing consumers to choose beef are taste, safety and price.  

“Those are key differentiation points we see in this study and have seen in several studies,” Tonsor said. “Taste and safety, in particular, are key drivers of U.S. beef demand.” 

To read the full report, go to