3 Key Trends in the Meat Coatings Market

Consumers want speciality products such as gluten-free coatings with an ethnic flavour

KerryDigest Fast Facts:
  • Coatings can add appeal to meat and plant proteins by imparting flavour and texture.

  • New Kerry research suggests the role of meat coatings is even broader, and that such products deliver on more consumer demands than once thought.

  • Our findings reveal that:
    • European consumers view gluten-free products, including gluten-free coatings, as a route to good health.
    • Coatings offer another opportunity for brands to deliver sustainable sourcing, ethical production and food safety.
    • Because meat coatings are customisable, they can be crafted to impart the increasingly desirable tastes of global cuisine.

Get KerryDigest articles delivered to your inbox

KerryDigest Full Scoop:

As consumers seek out tasty, novel, sustainable and better-for-you meat and plant-based meals, there’s a growing opportunity for meat coatings that deliver these characteristics. From crispy tempura batters and crunchy breadcrumbs to specialty crumbs such as cornflake, pretzel and panko as well as pre-dusts and adhesion batters, coatings are a versatile way to impart functionality and deliver flavour. Because coatings can be used on a wide variety of substrates, including poultry, seafood, red meat, appetisers, plant proteins and vegetables, they have crossover appeal in the traditional and vegan markets as well as in products designed for consumption out or at home.

Kerry's team—including research, development and applications; culinary chefs; marketing; sales and business development—recently reviewed the coatings category across Europe. Through primary research such as market sizing, in-store reviews and restaurant visits, the team developed insights on what is driving consumers in the meat coatings category, and how these drivers can be seen as opportunities for growth. Here’s a summary of three key trends consumers are looking for, including actionable findings from our new report, “The Art of Taste Coatings 2019”.

Gluten-free Coatings

We are living through a period of alternatives rather than omissions. People are moving away from fad diets and eliminating food groups and leaning towards a more balanced approach to eating. As such, a growing number of consumers want convenient products that point towards health. Because of the association between gluten-free products and diets such as Paleo, some consumers consider eating gluten-free products an alternative route to wellness.


What’s missing? Taste. Just 29% of global consumers of gluten-free products choose them because they “prefer the taste”, according to GlobalData. Gluten-free coatings that are formulated to add flavour can help manufacturers deliver missing taste elements to products such as meat and plant proteins. For example, speciality gluten-free batters, crumbs and rice flakes that are designed with flavour at the forefront can deliver the same delicious taste and crunchy, crispy texture as traditional coated products, only without the gluten.

Safe and Sustainable Stories

Recent food scandals, including in meat manufacturing, have created a lack of food trust amongst consumers. The demand for safer foods is driving a need for greater transparency across the supply chain. As sustainability comes into the collective conscience, consumers also want to know the stories behind the provenance, processes and people making their products. Coatings present an opportunity to convey extra authenticity and trust through the carefully sourced breadcrumbs and batters.

Manufacturers using meat coatings that are laced in tradition will be able to share with consumers a story of craft. For example, coatings may be seasoned with spices that are sustainably sourced through an agreement with family farms, a detail that can help inform an advertising or social media campaign. Or, trust can be conveyed through label callouts that emphasize the use of local flour milling capabilities, such as Kerry’s Gainsborough location in the UK.

Sensorial Playground

The current interest in travel to exotic locations has people seeking closer-to-home eating experiences that awaken the senses and deliver ethnic flavours. In support of this, research from Kerry ConsumerFirst found that 60% of European consumers like to try new flavours and foods from other countries. Other studies show that experiences are valued more than possessions; the consumer interest in novel tastes can be delivered through customised coatings.


Tailored coating systems such a tempura batters, panko-style crumbs and flavoured breadings will deliver on this global eating experience, whether the aim is to create products that harken the taste of Germany or Japan, or capture the essence of health and nutrition. Regional spice blends can be incorporated and coatings can be used alone or in conjunction with savoury stocks, bouillons, culinary sauces and brines to help food brands create authentic taste.

For more insights around key growth opportunities in the European coatings market, including current market trends, consumer needs and significant flavour innovations, contact Kerry.

Back to KerryDigest

Related content:

Get KerryDigest articles delivered to your inbox