Beef demand remained strong during 2018, according to NCBA, a contractor to the beef checkoff. Beef demand index values for the January through October period averaged 6% higher than the same time period of 2017. This trend has been at work for several years. The beef demand index indicates 2018 retail beef demand was 15% higher than in January 2012.
Data shows stronger overall beef demand was driven by the loin and ground beef. Demand for the chuck has been steady, while round demand was weaker.
Economic analysis also confirms consumers are responding positively to the higher quality beef supply available in the marketplace. Production of Prime and Choice beef has grown in recent years due to improved genetics and other herd and feeding management practices that yield high quality beef. Strong demand increases have been observed for USDA Choice beef. NCBA reports branded beef programs have helped drive the quality awareness and experience among consumers.
Despite lower priced protein alternatives, including poultry and pork, consumers have remained willing to pay up for increasing supplies of higher quality beef. Both domestic and export demand were strong during 2018. Growth in the U.S. economy was one of the key drivers of beef demand.
The full report is available here.