Beef Remains Foodservice Mainstay

To better understand beef trends at foodservice, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., on behalf of the beef checkoff, completes an annual foodservice volumetric study to measure operator purchases and distributor sales of beef and other proteins across all foodservice operator segments. Beef accounts for fully 16% of total foodservice food and non-alcohol purchases, making it the most prominent ingredient at foodservice.  It spans from the affordable and convenient burger to the high-end steak experience and everything in between.  This cornerstone role and associated investment make understanding beef’s trends important.

Overall, animal protein purchases continued to increase in 2018.  Total foodservice volumes grew 1.1% to 26.464 billion pounds over the prior year and are up over 4.4% since 2014.  Consistent with the overarching trend,2consumers are enjoying more meat, poultry, fish and seafood at foodservice.  While 31% of this volume is chicken and 30% is beef, beef’s wholesale purchase value exceeds that of chicken by 37.6%.  

In total, 2018 foodservice beef purchases exceeded 8.028 billion pounds or $31.205 billion.  When compared to the prior year, volume was 0.1% lower while dollar purchases increased 3.3%.  Given beef’s strong performance at retail and in export markets,3 along with traffic challenges amongst casual dining chain establishments,4 this volume change at foodservice is in-line with available beef supplies.  The price inflation, however, implies stronger consumer demand is driving operators’ increased willingness to pay for beef.

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