Hindsight 2020: Beef’s Market Trends Through the Pandemic

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has disrupted, changed, and damaged many industries across the country. From closed movie theaters, school disruptions, and restaurant shutdowns, this pandemic has shifted the way Americans and businesses operate in the modern economy. The cattle and beef industry were no exception to this disruption. Reducing supply, increasing price and demand, and limiting the capacity of restaurants are some of the ways that the pandemic has left its mark on this industry. But it is not all negative, the pandemic has also highlighted interesting strengths in the beef industry. The Beef Checkoff is tracking beef’s in retail and foodservice markets and tracking consumer beef-buying behavior during the pandemic as reported below.

For the last 52 weeks ending June 2020, retail stores have experienced significantly elevated beef demand, with dollar sales 14% higher and volume sales 8% higher than last year.1 However, the foodservice industry (restaurants, schools, prisons, etc.) typically comprises ~60% of beef expenditures in the U.S. Due to the nationwide restrictions on in-person dining and social gathering, transactional activity in the foodservice industry decreased 20% on a weekly average from the beginning of March to the end of July.2 Even taking these significant challenges for the beef industry into account, per capita consumption of beef is only expected to drop 1 pound versus last year and will still remain 3 pounds per person higher than 2015 consumption.3 The state of the industry is strong, with consumers choosing beef on a regular basis as their protein of choice.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: The Beef Checkoff