According to Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics, grocery store meat department dollar sales were up 24.8% through May 17, boasting double-digit growth for 10 weeks running. This reflects an additional $5.5 billion sold versus the same period in 2019. Year-to-date volume sales were up 18%, reflecting an additional 7.6 billion pounds of meat and poultry sold, compared to last year. Data from IRI, a company that tracks retail marketing and sales, indicates millennial households were behind the biggest increases in meat spending since the onset of the coronavirus.
Roerink said ground beef has been a “pandemic powerhouse,” with an additional $1 billion in year-to-date sales through May 17. She referenced IRI National Consumer Panel data that shows during the four weeks ending April 19, which encompass the two panic-buying weeks, the number of U.S. households purchasing ground beef rose seven points to 49%. The average household spent $5 more on ground beef than in the prior year, an increase of 30%. Buying frequency also increased, with 23% of consumers purchasing ground beef two or more times during that four-week period, up 6% from 2019.
As states begin to reopen some of their dine-in restaurants, Roerink said the economic and social readiness of consumers to re-engage with foodservice will become clearer. For the foreseeable future, however, she said it is likely that grocery stores will continue to capture an above-average share of the food dollar, with meat “in a starring role.”