Consumers may be eating meat less often, but they’re also eating it differently, which presents great opportunities for grocery retailers.
Total meat sales topped $67 billion for the year ending Dec. 29, 2018, according to Chicago-based Nielsen. While that’s a 3.1 percent increase in dollar sales over the prior year, 2018 saw a drop in volume, with nearly 19.4 billion pounds sold, a year-over-year decrease of 1.5 percent.
Fresh meat sales rose 3.4 percent to nearly $45.9 billion, with a 2.3 percent drop in volume. This pattern of more dollars but fewer pounds was common to most categories within fresh meat. A notable exception was meat alternatives – sales rose 22 percent to nearly $8.8 million, with volume climbing almost 20 percent.
While meat alternatives represent a small percentage of overall sales compared with traditional animal proteins, growth levels continue to indicate a gradual shift in consumers’ eating behavior.