US meat purchasing soared by 20% during the pandemic

March 30, 2021

Despite the trend for alternative meat options, Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry and lamb than ever, with meat grocery sales soaring by 20% last year versus 2019, according to IRI.

The 16th annual ‘Power of Meat’ report – released last week by the North American Meat Institute and The Food Industry Association – revealed that attitudes to meat have become more positive during the pandemic. Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts said: “With Covid-19 deepening demand for convenient, affordable food that tastes good and matches Americans’ values, meat fits the bill.”

The study was conducted by 210 Analytics and among the findings were:

  • three out of every four Americans believe meat belongs in a healthy, balanced diet (up by nearly 20% since 2020)
  • 94% say they buy meat because it provides high-quality protein
  • almost all American households (98%) purchased meat in 2020 (source: IRI)
  • 43% are now buying more meat than before the pandemic, primarily because they are preparing more meals at home
  • meat shoppers who bought groceries online grew 40% in 2020, and the majority of them (59%) expect to continue purchasing about the same amount online this year.

Home prep has remained a key feature throughout the pandemic and into 2021. The proportion of meals made at home hit a high of 89% in April 2020 but was still at 84% in December according to IRI. This is considerably above pre-pandemic levels. FMI believes that the pandemic has increased consumers’ confidence in cooking and preparing meat which augurs well for meat consumption continuing to stay buoyant.

To see some of the results from the mid-year Power of Meat study, click here.

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