Assessing Stocking Up Behavior Today and in the Future

To say consumer behavior around food has shifted this spring due to COVID-19 would be an understatement. One of the most jarring examples of the changes were empty store shelves across the country, caused by consumers stocking up on food and supplies. While this dynamic was short-lived, the widespread magnitude was something many generations in the U.S had never faced before. But what dynamics are shifting? How big of a change is really occurring? Is this behavior temporary or something that will become more ingrained in everyday life? The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, set out to understand how COVID-19 shifted consumer thinking and how those shifts impact beef purchasing.  

In a quantitative weekly survey starting in April, consumers indicated that they were cooking 86% of their meals at home. Two-thirds of consumers indicated that the percentage of meals they were cooking at home was higher now than they typically would cook in the past. While these numbers started trending down as we moved into May and June, the number still remains higher than average. 

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