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Retail meat sales still highly elevated

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Sales maintain strong pace even as restaurants see improvements in reservations, transactions and record levels of takeout business.

A first look at June data showed that food supply chain issues continued, with retail meat prices still highly elevated compared to this time last year, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics LLC.

The data showed that demand remained above last year’s levels in both dollar and volume terms, even as restaurants around the country started seeing improvements in reservations and transactions and continued record levels of takeout business. Roerink noted that retail meat purchase limits had started to resolve, although geographic differences were significant.

During the first week of June, dollar sales grew 19.4% versus year ago, and volume grew 1.9% -- its lowest gain since the first week of March.

“Shoppers may be using their freezer stash as backup and are also highly engaged with seafood, frozen meat and frozen seafood sales that have all been highly elevated for weeks,” she said.

Year to date through June 7, meat department dollar sales were up 24.2%, boasting double-digit growth for the months of March, April and May. This, Roerink said, reflects an additional $6.2 billion sold versus the same time period in 2019. Year-to-date volume sales through June 7 were up 16.1% over the same period in 2019, reflecting an additional 1.2 billion lb. of meat and poultry sold in that period.

Beef volume declines

Total meat volume increased over the first week of June due to gains for chicken and several of the smaller proteins, including turkey, lamb and exotic meats. However, Roerink reported that beef volume sales gains were negative, continuing a three-week stretch. Volume sales for pork recovered from a loss the prior week to record a small gain during the week of June 7.

“Supply and demand swings in recent weeks have made demand forecasting extremely difficult, particularly as restaurants are coming back on line and consumer uptake for dining out is unclear,” Roerink said.

IRI insights reported that, on average, retail price per volume showed significant upward year-over-year pressure on retail prices for the week ending June 7, particularly for beef. However, pork prices were more favorable the first week of June versus the previous week, although still up 17.2% from a year ago.

IRI, Total US, MULOretail meat prices 6.7.20.png

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