An Investigation of the General and Niche Market Goat Meat Demand

2005 Annual Report for LS02-138

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2002: $161,074.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Mack C. Nelson
Fort Valley State University

An Investigation of the General and Niche Market Goat Meat Demand


The eleven state region from Texas to North Carolina (TX, LA, OK, AR, MS, AL, FL, GA, TN, SC and NC) is the goat production region. The region accounted for 78% of all goat production and 81% of meat goat production in 1997. Meat goats in the U.S. have been minor food animals but their numbers and importance to farm income have increased in recent years, particularly in the South. The number of farms producing meat goats in the region between 1992 and 1997 increaed by more than 59%. All states in the region had substantial gains in meat goat production and this production took place primarily on small farms. Net imports of goat meat also increased dramatically during the period. Changes in goat production and net imports are thought to be related to increases in the segment of the population that have preferences for goat products. The implications of these statistics is an increased goat meat demand. However, little research is available that explain the consumption demographics of goat meat.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Objectives/Performance Targets
To establish the level of consumption and demand within the general population and identify opportunities for increased consumption, identify the goat meat products desired and estimate the potential level of demand.

To assess the level of demand and product characteristics desired by the Hispanic niche market. This assessment will also seek to determine the effects of income levels, educational attainment, integration into the larger community, the passing of food consumption preferences from parents to offspring and other socioeconomic demographic factors on demand/consumption.

To study the feasibility of strategic alliances between producers, and producers and marketing entities to efficiently exploit markets as influenced by producer and farm characteristics including herd size, land holdings, adoption of breeding and production technologies.


We used the data from a survey conducted in 11 southern states to elicits consumers’ demand and preferences for various goat meat products. Four econometric models were fitted to examine the existing demand, potential demand, and seasonal demand for goat meat. Our findings confirm that there exists a substantial demand and a great potential of demand increase for goat meat. Multiple factors contribute to goat meat purchase, but the dominant impact comes from demographics. Ethnic and age groups are the promising niche markets for goat meat.
Demand for chevon and its potential increase are evidenced in eleven southern states. The demand was reflected on the purchasing of current customers, the propensity of per capita consumption increase, the potential of new entrants in the market, and the seasonal pattern of consumption.

Multiple factors took weight in the determination of chevon demand. Ethnic affiliations, age, real income, and consumer preference are of importance. Among them, ethnic affiliations and age factors played a special role in niche markets. The impacts of minority groups were substantial and will increase because of large immigrants. The niche market associated with the elder will also grow because of the “baby boom” retirement in the coming years.

Seasonal demand reflects a special characteristic of the goat meat market. The promotion to stable and non-seasonal consumption through the provision of new chevon products should not be neglected.

This study analyzes consumer preferences for various attributes of chevon, their impacts on consumers’ purchasing behavior, and the determination of preferences. The study identified the discrepancies in preferences among various consumers, the major preferences driving the demand, and the major demographics in the determination of preferences. Our findings indicate the growing potential of goat meat demand attribute products and some niche markets.

A study was done of information on three categories of goat meat attributes, including search attributes, experience attributes and credence attributes. Using analysis of variance and the Kruskal-Wallis Test, we found the significant differences among rankings of various attributes were observed. Intrinsic search attributes such as color and freshness remain the first choice of consumers, which confirms discoveries in many earlier studies. A similar finding is consumers’ notable emphasis on safety assurance, which reflects the increased public awareness of risk status quo during the time of war on terror. The concern on cholesterol contents remains, but not was ranked very high. Consumers did not show significant difference in preferences for various cuts, organic growth and various advertisements. This may not be the case, however, when efforts are made to expand consumption beyond the existing niche markets.

Consumer preferences root deeply in demographic, social, and economic characteristics of population. As for preferences for freshness and color of goat meat, the main influencing factors are gender and household structure. Small households and female consumers have a higher standard, but differences among other groups were not identified. For meat assurance, the major influencing factors are age, education and income. Consumers with higher education, elder age and higher income require a high assurance standard. The organic growth was supposed to be an important attribute, but our data neither show a large ranking of importance nor identify differences in preference among consumers. Consumers concern with cholesterol content remains, and is mainly from the elder, higher education and income groups.

Our analyses of consumer preferences suggest that keeping freshness and bright color of goat meat is the first one of many marketing strategies. In addition, product promoted in the market should be valued high in terms of health related attributes, such as safety assurance and cholesterol contents, which are the concerns of an increasing number of consumers, especially those with higher income, education, and the elder. The organic growth, various cuts as well as advertisements may not be as important as recommended in other studies, hence may not be considered as urgent marketing options. In another analysis Hispanic non-consumers were 22 percent less likely than Blacks to be unwilling to consume goat meat and regardless of age there were significant differences observed. Males were 10 percent less likely than females to express an unwillingness to try goat meat. Educational attainment also influenced willingness to consume goat meat. Respondents with graduate and/or professional degrees were 12 percent more likely to express a willingness to consume than those with less educational attainment. Respondents residing in the southern half of the South Atlantic region and the East South-Central region were 7 percent and 10 percent more likely to be unwilling to consume goat meat than respondents living in the West South-Central region, respectively. Previous lamb consumption decreased the probability of being a non-consumer of goat meat by 19 percent.

Publications and Presentations

Knight, Erika, Lisa House, Mack C. Nelson and Robert Degner. An Evaluation of Consumer Preferences Regarding Goat Meat in the South. Journal of Food Distribution Research. Vol. XXXVII No. 1, Pp.88-96.

Demand Potential for Goat Meat in the South: Empirical Evidence from a Multi-State Goat Meat Consumer Survey, Selected paper for the annual conference of American Agricultural Economics Association, Providence, RI, July 24 – 27, 2005.

Demand Potential for Goat Meat in the South: Empirical Evidence from a Multi-State Goat Meat Consumer Survey, Submitted to the Journal of Food Distribution Research, March 27, 2006.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Our analyses of consumer preferences suggest that freshness and bright color of goat meat is the number one marketing strategy to increase consumption. This consumer preference is most influenced by gender.

Females and smaller households demand higher quality assurances of goat meat products.

Consumer concern with cholesterol content is high and most notably with consumers with higher incomes and educational attainment as well as with older consumers.

Among non-consumers of goat meat within traditional niche markets, Hispanics were over 20 percent less likely to be unwilling to consume goat meat than Blacks, regardless of age.


Patricia E. McLean-Meyinsse
Professor of Agricultural Economics
Southern University & A&M College
Department of Agricultural Economics
Division of Agricultural Sciences
Baton Rogue, LA 70813
Office Phone: 2257715124
Will Getz
Assoc. Professor & Extension Small Ruminant Spec.
Fort Valley State University
College of Ag., Home Economics & Allied Programs
P.O. Box 4061, 1005 State University Drive
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Office Phone: 4788256955
Alfred L. Parks
Research Director & Professor of Agricultural Econ
Prairie View A&M University
College of Agriculture & Human Sciences
P.O. Box 2479
Prairie View, TX 77446
Office Phone: 9368572030
Jack Houston
Professor of Agricultural Economics
University of Georgia
Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics
312 Conner Hall
Athens, GA 30602-7509
Office Phone: 7065420852
Alden Peters

Goat & Sheep Farmer
3304 Duhart Church Road
Stapleton, GA 30823-7112
Donald McDowell
Professor of Agricultural Economics
North Carolina A&T State University
Dept. of Agribusiness, Applied Econ. & Agriscience
C.H. Moore, A-26
Greensboro, NC 27411
Office Phone: 3363347054
Ginny Skinner
Apalachee River Livestock Farm
1131Treadwell Bridge Road
Statham, GA 30666
Office Phone: 7707257926