American Industry Overview: Sausages and Other Prepared Meat Products

Establishments in this category are primarily engaged in manufacturing sausages, cured meats, smoked meats, canned meats, frozen meats, and other prepared meats and meat specialties from purchased carcasses and other materials. Products include bologna, bacon, corned beef, frankfurters (except poultry), headcheese, luncheon meat, pigs' feet, sandwich spreads, stew, pastrami, and hams (except poultry). Prepared meat plants operated by packinghouses as separate establishments are also included in this industry.

Industry Snapshot

Meat by-products from the sale of beef and pork, including hides, variety meats, tallow, and numerous other products, account for more than 10 percent of the total value of a carcass, which keeps prices to the consumer lower than they would otherwise be. Sales of sausages and other prepared meat products made from carcasses were valued at $20.4 billion, according to Dun & Bradstreet's 2009 Industry Reports. The low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet market of the 2000s helped enhance consumer popularity of luncheon meats, sausages, bacon, and other prepared meats, and consumers were willing to pay for high-quality products. In a poll conducted by the American Meat Institute (AMI), 64 percent of Americans considered hot dogs and hamburgers as American as apple pie and Uncle Sam – who was a meatpacker – surpassing both pizza and chicken in rankings.

Organization and Structure