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.
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, claims-based meat availability was spotty at times, which affected purchase ability. However, antibiotic-related claims, organic and grass-fed claims saw unprecedented growth rates.
As pandemic shopping patterns started to unfold, many retailers had limited ability to create value-added items in-house, due to a lack of available labor hours. However, case-ready value-added items did very well.
Spending on meat in the club channel is still increasing, up 1.4 percentage points since the first pandemic measurement, the four weeks ending March 22. Traditional grocery, the largest channel, had a very high share during April, when shelter-in-place mandates were in place for the majority of states.
Five months into the pandemic, 57% of primary grocery shoppers were extremely concerned about COVID-19, according to wave 16 of the IRI sentiment survey. The concern is driving continued elevated spending in food retail, while also hampering the recovery of foodservice.