Meat department sales spiked 35.4% above year ago levels in April 2020, creating a tough year-over-year target. That means, when going up against those sales spikes, meat dropped further behind year-ago levels than other perimeter departments, including produce, deli and bakery.
In March 2021, sales started lapping the enormous spikes of 2020 and the comparison to year-ago levels turned negative for of the meat department even though the demand stayed well ahead of the 2019 baseline.
While early on in the pandemic many shoppers started out indulging in traditional and “comfort food” choices, January kicked off with New Year’s resolutions for 64% of shoppers. For meat, this means the consumer’s eye is on nutrition as well as price and promotion.
In 2020, overall meat dollar sales increased 18.4% and volume sales grew 10.3% versus the same period last year. This translates into an additional $12.7 billion in meat department sales during the pandemic, which includes an astounding additional $5.7 billion for beef, $1.6 billion for chicken and $1.1 billion for pork than during the same period in 2019.
November sales are dominated by the all important Thanksgiving holiday — one of the largest retail opportunities in meat and many other retail departments. This makes it a hard-to-beat sales occasion any year.