According to 210 Analytics President Anne-Marie Roerink, as social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders ramped up, the final week of March showed ongoing stockpiling of food and beverages. Although packaged and frozen food are accounting for a greater share of grocery spending during the pandemic, Roerink said the demand for meat and poultry remains highly elevated. In fact, data from IRI, a company that tracks retail marketing and sales, revealed meat has been the leading sales driver for the perimeter of grocery stores since the onset of coronavirus in the U.S.
During the week of March 29, total perimeter sales were up 12% versus 36% for total meat and poultry. Roerink said this is on top of the 80% surge in meat and poultry sales the week ending March 15 and 92% the week of March 22. Year-to-date IRI data showed dollar gains for total meat are up 17% over the comparable period in 2019. Beef and chicken, the two largest proteins, saw the biggest increases in terms of dollars during the week of March 29. In absolute dollars, Roerink said, beef sold an additional $158 million versus the comparable week last year, with more than 55% of it generated by ground beef.
Stockpiling likely will taper some as pantries and freezers become full. However, Roerink believes increased everyday demand likely will continue while social distancing measures are in effect. This is due to shoppers preparing more home-cooked meals across the board, from breakfast to dinner.
The Kansas Beef Council (KBC) remains vigilant in their efforts to educate consumers on the benefits of choosing beef as part of their diet. Through ramped-up digital promotion efforts, KBC is providing consumers with cooking tips, nutritional information and recipes they can use as they prepare more beef meals at home.