Inflation Impacts Animal Protein Purchases

Shoppers respond to inflation by changing their food shopping habits, especially animal protein or meat, revealed retail data science expert 84.51°.

84.51°‘s Consumer Digest reveals consumers’ shopping habits regarding their plant—or animal-based protein needs. It reported that, in March, 62% of households showed great concern about inflation, down slightly from 64% in February.

Protein consumption has remained steady compared to last year, with 66% of households reporting consuming about the same amount. Only 17% of households state that they are consuming less or more protein, with the cost of groceries being the main reason.

Shoppers are using discounts, buying cheaper cuts of meat and non-organic options, and modifying their meal plans to meet their meat needs while staying within their budget.

When it comes to including protein in their diet, shoppers are most concerned with the taste of the protein (60%), followed by its value for the price paid (55%) and its ability to keep them feeling full (50%).

Related Article: The Retail Academy: The Meat Department

They are looking to buy more meat on sale, in a deal, or for which they have coupons. Also, they are changing the type of meat, choosing cheaper cuts (37%) rather than switching from buying organic meat to non-organic.

The meal plan has changed because 43% of the surveyed people answered that they now cook dishes that use less meat (e.g., casseroles, soups, tacos, etc.). Meanwhile, 33% purchased more beans, legumes, nuts, and eggs to replace some.

Only 12% said they are not stretching their dollar or budget on meat.

Where do people buy meat?

The grocery store (92%) is where it is more straightforward for shoppers to get their meat.

The second place goes to the mass retail store (53%), like Target or Walmart, where 18-34-year-olds are significantly more likely to purchase their protein at a mass retail store than older generations.

A club store is the third place where people get their meat.

Priorities when buying meat

When buying meat, the most important aspects can be price-related and what the label says.

  • Hormone-free (43%)
  • Top-rated USDA grades (37%)
  • Non-GMO (35%)
  • Locally produced (27%)
  • Free range (27%)
  • Pasture-raised (26%)
  • Grass-fed (25%)
  • Organic (20%)

Also, animal-based protein sources rank in the top protein options consumers buy.

Animal-based protein sources (dairy and meat)

Plant-based consumption

As shoppers seek better health and environmental stewardship, many choose plant-based alternatives to traditional meat and dairy foods. Often, shoppers “enter” plant-based with milk, then expand consumption to additional categories, like frozen meals and frozen meat.

Overall health (59%) is the main driver behind more plant-based consumption, followed by sustainability/environment (42%) and taste/flavor (38%). The last one is animal cruelty (36%).

On the other hand, cost (53%) is the first “but” to consume plant-based protein, followed by less sales/promos (41%), texture (24%), and taste/flavor (22%).

The report said, “Shoppers who do not consume plant-based foods are not likely to try them in the future.”