Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry, and lamb than ever as increased time at home during the pandemic sent meat grocery sales soaring by 20% (IRI) from 2019 to 2020, according to FMI – the Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute 16th Annual “Power of Meat” Report.
The national analysis released Tuesday shows that three out of every four Americans agree meat belongs in healthy, balanced diets (up by nearly 20% since 2020), and 94% say they buy meat because it provides high-quality protein.
“Americans feel better than ever about choosing meat as part of healthy, balanced diets. With COVID-19 deepening demand for convenient, affordable food that tastes good and matches Americans’ values, meat fits the bill,” Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts stated.
Nearly all-American households (98.4%) purchased meat in 2020 (IRI), and 43% of Americans now buy more meat than before the pandemic – primarily because they are preparing more meals at home.
The proportion of meals prepared at home peaked at 89% in April 2020 and remained at 84% in December (IRI), considerably above pre-pandemic levels and particularly impacting Millennials who were previously most likely to eat out.
The number of meat shoppers who purchased groceries online grew by 40% in 2020. The majority of online purchasers (59%) expect to continue purchasing about the same amount online in 2021, suggesting that food shopping habits may have changed permanently.
Americans are also embracing new cooking methods (ownership of air fryers increased 24%) and turning to digital sources for recipe inspiration (YouTube use is up 50%) and promotions (consulting digital circulars for promotions increased 33%).
“Shoppers are cooking more at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their confidence in cooking and preparing meat has increased,” said Rick Stein, Vice President of Fresh Foods for FMI—The Food Industry Association. “Further analysis also shows convenient meal solutions are key and food retailers have opportunities to provide more choices, along with more information and education on consumer priorities like nutrition and meal preparation – building up what we call consumers’ Meat IQ.”
210 Analytics conducted the Power of Meat study on behalf of FMI—The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and released it during the American Meat Conference.