July 4th Meat Sales Produce Fireworks

Fourth of July meat sales in America saw a 4.1% increase over 2019. Analysts think that’s a remarkable achievement, not just because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but also because Independence Day sets a high bar given the holiday’s traditional focus of grilling at home versus eating out.

Meat sales for the week leading up to July 4 recorded a 17.9% increase in dollar sales to accompany the increase in volume, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, 210 Analytics, and IRI, a data analytics company that tracks sales. The Independence Day performance continues a trend of strong meat sales for 2020 pandemic-affected holidays.

“Without exception, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day boosted the elevated everyday demand even higher to achieve astounding gains versus year ago,” Roerink said. “Independence Day was no exception. Meat prices were still elevated and several states rolled back their relaxation of pandemic social distancing measures. In many cases, this involved stricter in-restaurant dining capacity limits. This could have prompted everyday demand to increase for the week ending July 5 along with the holiday demand.”

It was the 17th week of double-digit gains since the onset of the pandemic. And while higher prices drove much of this gain, the holiday brought meat volume growth too, at +4.1%, Roerink said.

“The dollar/volume gap continued to improve to 13.8 points. Expectations for the holidays were smaller gatherings and unit sales support this assumption. Unit purchases in fresh meat increased by 8.4 million, or 5.2%, over the Fourth of July week versus last year, while volume increased 4.1%. This points to more, but smaller, packages sold,” she said.

So far during the pandemic, starting March 15 through July 5, dollar sales are up 36.4% and volume sales have increased 23.0% versus the same period last year.

Overall, Roerink says, price increases year-over-year were noticed with the fresh promoted price for the holiday week this year at $3.77 versus $2.96 last year.

“IRI’s insights on the average retail price per volume show double-digit increases when comparing to Independence Day week in 2019,” she said. “However, the big three (proteins) showed significant declines in price per volume versus the preceding 2020 week. Compared to the week ending June 28, beef prices were down 7.6% during the holiday week, chicken prices decreased 3.2% and pork 5.0%. Across all meats, prices were down nearly 4% compared with the prior week ending June 2020.”