Meat sales, strong increase

Reposted with permission from Bob Pritchard

Despite the publicity generated by “artificial” meat with products like Beyond , meat sales are strong in dollars and volume, driven by beef and chicken, and spending per household on meat increased in 2019. The study explored consumption trends, sales growth and consumer preferences and found demand for meat is accelerating with $50.5 billion in sales for 2019.

The study took a deep dive into consumer interest in topics like production and sustainability.   Forty nine percent (49%) of the community believe that animal agriculture does not have negative impacts on the planet if done properly.  The belief that it does have negative impacts is higher among younger generations. 

 In the overall population;

  • 81% described themselves as meat eaters
  • 12% are Flexitarian
  • 3% are Pescatarian
  • 2% are Vegetarian
  • 2% are Vegan

When it comes to meat consumption, moderation is far more popular than elimination, with flexitarians (12%) looking to reduce their animal protein through smaller portion sizes and/or a day without meat/poultry. 

83% of the population are eating smaller portions of meat, but they are eating less meat more often.   Meat brands continued to benefit from being a preferred purchase among younger shoppers, but 2019 was a strong year for private brands (up 12.3%). The community wants more information about nutrition (58%), food safety practices (57%), animal care practices (46%) and the brand’s environmental impact (40%). 

While the majority of shoppers shop at multiple stores, most have a store at which they spend the majority of their grocery dollars and/or the majority of their meat and poultry dollars.   Over 50% of shoppers named a supermarket as their primary store for meat, at 53%. Other channels that gain share when comparing groceries in general versus the meat purchase are clubs, organic/specialty stores and alternative channels. The latter include stand-alone butcher shops, as well as farm-direct, farmers’ markets, online purchases and outlets and ethnic stores. 

Less than 1% of shoppers identified online shopping as their primary way to purchase groceries and even fewer primarily purchase their fresh meat/poultry online. However, online shopping is growing, both for groceries and meat/poultry, as a convenient solution to complement in-store purchases at a minimum. Four in 10 shoppers have purchased groceries online in the past year, including click-and-collect, home delivery, online- only retailers or online ordering with a brick-and-mortar store. Growth in shoppers who have bought groceries online is plateauing. 

Here are some other key takeaways from the report: 

  • Plant-based meat alternatives are a small but growing market. Total store plant-based meat alternative sales were $760 million in 2019 and grew 11.8%. They are mostly an occasional choice driven by perceived health benefits, being a good source of protein, just something different and for environmental reasons. 
  • Time-saving solutions drive meat and cooking appliance choices. While the number of weekly home-cooked meals dropped to 4.5 over 2019, dinners containing meat increased to 3.9. Newer cooking appliances, including the Instant Pot and air fryer, continue to make inroads in both ownership and being used to prepare meat and poultry.
  • Influenced by healthy and ethical living, shoppers would greatly welcome protein content on-pack and tips on superior nutritional choices that do not cost more and are equally tasty. Organic, grass-fed and no-antibiotics-ever offerings saw robust sales gains, but overall trust in such claims is only moderate.
  • Promotional ads remain relevant but in-store promotional signage remains the top way to check meat and poultry specials (55%) after dethroning print ad (44%) last year.
  • Eighty-five percent of shoppers buy just a handful of cuts of meat and poultry.
  • Forty percent of shoppers have ordered groceries and 19% meat and poultry online, up from 14% last year. Processed meat, chicken and ground beef are the most likely meat items in online baskets.
  • Shoppers want to hear from brands about nutrition (58%), food safety practices (57%), animal care practices (46%) and the brand’s environmental impact (40%).
  • Sixty-eight percent of shoppers feel it is important for stores to provide transparency into how and where livestock was raised. Shoppers most want to see information on-pack.
  • While 34% of consumers believe raising livestock has some or a lot of negative impact on the planet, this belief is much stronger among younger generations. 

It appears people are still “feeding the man meat.” 


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