Washington, DC – Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry, and lamb than ever as increased time at home during the pandemic sent meat grocery sales soaring by 20% (IRI) from 2019 to 2020.
The national analysis released today shows that three out of every four Americans agree meat belongs in healthy, balanced diets (up by nearly 20% since 2020), and 94% say they buy meat because it provides high-quality protein.
Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts commented:
“Americans feel better than ever about choosing meat as part of healthy, balanced diets. With COVID-19 deepening demand for convenient, affordable food that tastes good and matches Americans’ values, meat fits the bill.”
Nearly all American households (98.4%) purchased meat in 2020 (IRI), and 43% of Americans now buy more meat than before the pandemic – primarily because they are preparing more meals at home.
The proportion of meals prepared at home peaked at 89% in April 2020 and remained at 84% in December (IRI), considerably above pre-pandemic levels and particularly impacting Millennials who were previously most likely to eat out.
The number of meat shoppers who purchased groceries online grew 40% in 2020, and the majority of online purchasers (59%) expect to continue purchasing about the same amount online in 2021, suggesting food shopping habits may have changed permanently.
Americans are also embracing new cooking methods (ownership of air fryers increased 24%) and turning to digital sources for recipe inspiration (YouTube use is up 50%) and promotions (consulting digital circulars for promotions increased 33%).
“Shoppers are cooking more at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their confidence in cooking and preparing meat has increased,” said Rick Stein, Vice President of Fresh Foods for FMI—The Food Industry Association. “Further analysis also shows convenient meal solutions are key and that food retailers have opportunities to provide more choices, along with more information and education on consumer priorities like nutrition and meal preparation – building up what we call consumers’ Meat IQ.”
The Power of Meat study was conducted by 210 Analytics on behalf of FMI—The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and released during the American Meat Conference.
About Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education
The Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education (Foundation) is a non-profit research, education and information foundation established to identify strategies that enable the meat and poultry industry to produce better, safer products and to operate more efficiently. The Foundation engages leaders from industry, academia and government to advance scientific understanding related to food safety, nutrition, the environment, animal welfare and worker safety, among other issues. The Foundation does not engage in policymaking but provides scientific evidence and context to governmental agencies as needed. The Foundation also provides resources to consumers to empower them with information to select and prepare safe and nutritious meat and poultry products for their families. For more information, visit: http://meatpoultryfoundation.org/pages/about.
As the food industry association, FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. FMI brings together a wide range of members across the value chain — from retailers that sell to consumers, to producers that supply food and other products, as well as the wide variety of companies providing critical services — to amplify the collective work of the industry. For more information, visit: www.FMI.org.