1. Meat, poultry sales grew 1.0% in 2019 to $50.4b
Meat department sales are accelerating in dollar value and volume, driven by beef and chicken. Household penetration is steady, but a focus on smaller portions and limiting second helpings may pressure volume gains.
2. Plant-based meat alternatives small but growing market
Total store sales of plant-based meat alternatives were $760 million in 2019 and grew 11.8%. Purchases are mostly occasional, driven by perceived health benefits, being a good protein, just something different and environmental reasons. Blended vegetable/meat items, such as mushroom burgers, have higher and greater cross-population appeal and can be a bridge to the societal and health benefits people are seeking.
3. Time-saving solutions drive meat, cooking appliance purchases
While the number of weekly home-cooked meals dropped to 4.5 in 2019, dinners containing animal protein increased to 3.9 per week. Newer cooking appliances, including the Instant Pot and air fryer, continue to make inroads in ownership and are being used to prepare meat and poultry.
4. Production claims remain popular
Shoppers would greatly welcome on-pack protein content labels and tips on superior nutritional choices that do not cost more and are equally tasty. Organic, grass-fed and no-antibiotics-ever offerings saw robust sales gains, but overall, trust in such claims is only moderate. Building trust in and understanding of claims is key to continued growth.
5. Promotional ads remain relevant
Promotional ads are still effective, but in-store promotional signage has become top way to check meat and poultry specials (55%) after dethroning the print ad (44%) last year.
6. Shopper buying just a handful of cuts, kinds
Eighty-five percent of shoppers are buying only a small number of the many meat and poultry cuts and kinds available. In fact, Gen Z and Millennials are three times more likely than Baby Boomers to express doubt in their ability to cook new cuts and kinds of meat and poultry or knowing how it will taste.
7. Supermarkets remain meat powerhouses, with some gains in online sales
More than half of shoppers buy meat and poultry primarily at supermarkets. Forty percent of shoppers have ordered groceries online, and 19% have bought meat and poultry online, up from 14% last year. Processed meat, chicken and ground beef are the most likely meat items in online baskets.
8. Brands continue to benefit
Last year was a strong year for private brands (up 12.3%). Shoppers want to hear from brands about nutrition (58%), food safety practices (57%), animal care practices (46%) and the brand’s environmental impact (40%).
9. Transparency about livestock production important
National Pork Board
Sixty-eight percent of shoppers feel it is important for grocery stores to provide information on how livestock were raised. Shoppers most want to see information on the package, followed by on a brand’s website or social media.
10. Sustainability concerns affect choices
Environmental sustainability is affecting protein choices, but 49% believe that, if done properly, animal agriculture does not have negative impacts on the planet. Still, about one-third of consumers (34%) believe raising livestock has some or a lot of negative impact on the planet, and the belief is much stronger among younger generations.