To understand consumer preferences and demand for meat during the COVID-19 pandemic, FMI –The Food Industry Association and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education, the foundation for the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute), released a midyear Power of Meat study and found sales of meat increased an unprecedented 34.6 percent and revealed changing consumer behaviors.

The Midyear Power of Meat has again proven the value of meat and poultry to retailers, but most importantly, to consumers,” said Julie Anna Potts, Meat Institute President and CEO. “The survey affirms that meat and poultry remains the food consumers want when times are good and when faced with a crisis. Consumers want the comfort and nutrition that meat provides.”

FMI Vice President, Fresh Food, Rick Stein commented on the unprecedented demand challenges that were acutely felt in the meat aisles at the height of the pandemic. Stein said, “Meat department sales almost doubled in the first week of the pandemic, compared to the same week in 2019. We witnessed that consumers did not discriminate over the type of meat, as beef, chicken, pork, fresh, frozen, or processed were all loaded into shopping carts week after week. While many consumers focused on filling their refrigerators and freezers with their purchases, they were also cooking more meat-centric meals at home, increasing meals made with meat to 4.6 occasions per week (from 3.9 last year). Consumers said they were trying new recipes and experimenting with different types and cuts of meat.”

The survey found that as a result of the pandemic 75% of consumers made changes in their meat purchasing behavior with at least half buying different brands (58%), cuts (51%) or types (50%) of meat.  Additionally, during the pandemic, consumers are now cooking more meals and need more variety (50%), cooking new recipes (37%) and experimenting with different cuts/kinds of meat (34%). For more details about consumer trends and behaviors during the pandemic, please see the Midyear Power of Meat 2020 Top Ten.

The Midyear Power of Meat 2020 was conducted by 210 Analytics and is made possible by CRYOVAC Brand Food Packaging, part of Sealed Air Corporation.

Source: North American Meat Institute