Fresh meat sales spike as consumers prepare for COVID-19

Dollar sales for fresh chicken and turkey in the U.S. increased significantly the week ending March 8, 2020, compared to a year ago. The increase is due to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, said data analytics company IRI.

Doughman Headshot3 Headshot
BillC. | BigStock.com
BillC. | BigStock.com

Dollar sales for fresh chicken and turkey in the U.S. increased significantly the week ending March 8, 2020, compared to a year ago. The increase is due to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, said data analytics company IRI.

In the past few days, communities throughout the U.S. have taken preventative measures to minimize the impact of COVID-19. Companies asked employees to begin working from home and universities, colleges and many schools transitioned to extended vacations and virtual learning. Consumers are stocking up on nonperishables and other shelf-stable goods in preparation for self-quarantine and/or social distancing measures.

Fresh chicken accounted for $284,262,700 worth of dollar sales during the week ending March 8, 2020, a 6.1% increase over a year ago. Fresh turkey dollar sales grew more than 9.7% to $38,784,247. Fresh beef and pork saw an 8% increase in dollar sales.

This is a significant increase over past data. Fresh meat total sales have remained constant since 2015 and showed only 0.6% dollar sales growth in 2018.

What will the future bring?

IRI divided market response to COVID-19 into three phases:

  • Phase 1: society monitors for potential incidence but has put no formal restrictions in place. Consumers react by stocking up on virus prevention items like hand sanitizer, cleaners and vitamins.
  • Phase 2: self-quarantines and social distancing starts to occur. Large group events are canceled, and more people begin to work from home. Consumers react by purchasing necessities and symptom relief including frozen and shelf-stable foods, toilet paper, sports drinks, cold medicine and pain relief. This is also when a decline in away-from-home food consumption and small business sales is seen.
  • Phase 3: Enhanced quarantines and travel restrictions are enacted. There is significantly limited personal interaction outside of the home. During this phase, consumers cocoon and consumer packaged goods (CPGs) should expect to a rapid increase in online ordering and frictionless food delivery as well as massive declines in away-from-home consumption.

Dine-in traffic is expected to slow up to 75% over the next few weeks as consumers begin to self-quarantine and practice social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition, experts predict that in-home food and beverages will be perceived as safer than restaurant options.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Like what you just read? Sign up now for free to receive the Poultry Future Newsletter.

Page 1 of 93
Next Page