The global processed meat market exhibited moderate growth during 2015-2020. Processed meat is an umbrella term referring to meat products that have been modified and enriched with multiple additives. Some of the most commonly used additives include salt, sugar, oil, minerals, acidifiers, flavoring agents, preservative mixtures and other seasonings. The curing of meat is done in order to improve its taste and quality, extend its shelf life and enhance the overall flavor. The meat can also be processed through cooking, smoking and fermenting that aids in reducing the chances of unwanted microorganism growth on the product at a later date. These processed meat products are a rich source of essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, selenium, choline, niacin and riboflavin. Various types of fresh meats, including red and white meat from swine, poultry, cattle or sea animals, can be combined together and processed to form bacon, sausages, salami, hot dogs, beef jerky, canned meat and meat-based snacks. Although these products contain high concentrations of cholesterol and preservatives that are considered to be unhealthy, the enhanced flavor and convenience associated with processed meat is largely driving the market growth. As per IMARC Group estimates, the global processed meat market is expected to reach a value of US$ 737.2 Billion by 2026.

Rising Popularity of Ready-to-Eat Products Acts as a Key Processed Meat Market Trend
The market is primarily driven by the increasing demand for ready-to-eat meat products across the globe. This is facilitated by rapid urbanization, inflating per capita income levels and shifting dietary preferences of the masses. The busy schedules and the hectic lifestyles led by the working professionals have also impelled the sales of processed meat products. Apart from this, there has been a significant rise in the demand for animal-based proteins among individuals. This can be attributed to the growing consciousness among consumers regarding the consumption of nutrient-rich packaged product variants. This, along with the enhanced convenience offered by these products and considerable growth in the food processing industry, is facilitating the uptake of processed meat. The market is further driven by the rising popularity of international cuisines. Supported by the rapid expansion of online and organized retail across the globe, this is creating a positive outlook for the market. Along with this, numerous quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, restaurants and hotels, as well as various retail and convenience stores, are offering a variety of products that comprise processed meat as the key ingredient. Coupled with the thriving food sector on the global level, this is providing an impetus to the market growth.

Shifting Preference Toward Organic Product Variants to Propel the Market Growth
The growing awareness about the risks associated with the increasing usage of nitrate for curing purposes in processed meat products has impelled the manufacturers to replace it with healthier counterparts. Therefore, several players are now substituting nitrate with natural curing agents, such as cherry celery powder, which is gaining widespread prominence among the masses. Additionally, numerous players are heavily investing in extensive research and development (R&D) activities in an attempt to formulate safer alternatives to the chemicals that are utilized for curing meat. There has also been an escalating demand for organic processed meat that is free from antibiotics and chemical residues. This has led players to adopt meat from organic-certified farms in order to retain the authenticity of the products. They are also widely replacing synthetic preservatives with natural alternatives, thereby providing an impetus to the market growth.

Mergers and Acquisitions Creating a Positive Outlook for the Market
Multiple industry players are focusing on expanding their production capacity by pursuing mergers and acquisitions as a key market strategy. For instance, Tyson Foods, Inc., an American food service provider, acquired Keystone Foods business from Marfrig Global Foods in 2018, thereby furthering its growth strategy and the expansion of its value-added protein capabilities. This acquisition involved six processing plants and an innovation center in the United States, along with eight plants and three innovation centers with geographical locations across the Asia Pacific. This business move aided the company to expand its international presence and deliver better service to its foodservice customers. Some of the other factors contributing to the market growth include advancements in meat preservation techniques and the growing preference for frozen meat products.

Key Market Segmentation:

IMARC Group provides an analysis of the key trends in each sub-segment of the global processed meat market report, along with forecasts for growth at the global, regional and country-level from 2021-2026. Our report has categorized the market based on region, meat type, product type, processing type, and distribution.

Breakup by Meat Type:


Among these, poultry represents the most preferred meat type.

Breakup by Product Type:

Fresh-Processed Meat
Raw Fermented Meat
Raw-Cooked Meat
Pre-Cooked Meat
Cured Meat
Dried Meat

Breakup by Processing Type:


At present, the frozen segment exhibits a clear dominance in the market.

Breakup by Distribution:

Institutional Sales (HoReCa)
Retail Sales
Supermarkets and Hypermarkets
Grocery Stores
Specialty Retailers
Online Stores

Currently, retail sales account for the majority of the total processed meat market share.

Breakup by Region:

North America
United States
United Kingdom
Asia Pacific
South Korea
Latin America
Middle East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

Amongst these, North America holds the leading position in the market.

Competitive Landscape:

The competitive landscape of the industry has been examined in the report with the detailed profiles of the key players operating in the market. Some of these players include BRF SA, Cargill Inc., Foster Farms, Hormel Foods Corporation, JBS SA, Marel hf, Marfrig, National Beef, Nippon Ham Foods Ltd., Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sadia, Sanderson Farms Inc, Sysco, and Tyson Foods.