Report: Meat purchases and confidence at record highs

Wisconsin State Farmer
According the 16th annual "Power of Meat" report, Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry, and lamb than ever.

According to a recent analysis, Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry, and lamb than ever.

The 16th annual "Power of Meat" report says increased time at home during the pandemic sent meat grocery sales soaring by 20% (IRI) from 2019 to 2020.

The national analysis shows that three out of every four Americans agree meat belongs in healthy, balanced diets (up by nearly 20% since 2020), and 94% say they buy meat because it provides high-quality protein.

“Americans feel better than ever about choosing meat as part of healthy, balanced diets. With COVID-19 deepening demand for convenient, affordable food that tastes good and matches Americans’ values, meat fits the bill,” Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts said.

Julie Anna Potts is president and CEO of North American Meat Institute.

Nearly all American households (98.4%) purchased meat in 2020, and 43% of Americans now buy more meat than before the pandemic – primarily because they are preparing more meals at home.

The spike in meals prepared at home topped out at 89% in April 2020 and remained at 84% in December, considerably above pre-pandemic levels and particularly impacting Millennials who were previously most likely to eat out.

The report noted that the number of meat shoppers who purchased groceries online grew 40% in 2020, and the majority of online purchasers (59%) expect to continue purchasing about the same amount online in 2021, suggesting food shopping habits may have changed permanently.

Americans are also preparing food in different ways, with a 24% increase in the purchase of air fryers. Home cooks are also turning to digital sources for recipes and promotions.

“Shoppers are cooking more at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their confidence in cooking and preparing meat has increased,” said Rick Stein, Vice President of Fresh Foods for FMI—The Food Industry Association. “Further analysis also shows convenient meal solutions are key and that food retailers have opportunities to provide more choices, along with more information and education on consumer priorities like nutrition and meal preparation – building up what we call consumers’ Meat IQ.”

According to the news release, the Power of Meat study was conducted by 210 Analytics on behalf of FMI—The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and released during the American Meat Conference.