Americans Love Meat: Purchases and Confidence Reach Record Highs

Pandemic purchases helped send meat grocery sales soaring by 20% from 2019 to 2020 according to IRI data. There’s no question that Americans are buying more beef, pork, poultry and lamb than ever. On March 23, the Food Industry Association (FMI) and the North American Meat Institute's (Meat Institute) Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education released their 16th-annual "Power of Meat" report.

“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,” says Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts.

With more and more shoppers cooking at home now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their confidence is increasing when it comes to cooking and preparing meat, explains Rick Stein, vice president of Fresh Foods for FMI. 

“Further analysis also shows convenient meal solutions are key and that 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,” Stein says.

Other key findings from the Power of Meat report include:

-A national analysis released on March 23 shows that three out of every four Americans agree meat belongs in healthy, balanced diets. This is up by nearly 20% since 2020, the Meat Institute reports. In fact, 94% say they buy meat because it provides high-quality protein. 

-Nearly all American households (98.4%) purchased meat in 2020 according to IRI data, and 43% of Americans now buy more meat than before the pandemic. The report credits this increase primarily because Americans 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 data shows. The report points out this is considerably above pre-pandemic levels and particularly impacts Millennials who were previously most likely to eat out. 

-The number of meat shoppers who purchased groceries online grew 40% in 2020, and 59% of online purchasers expect to continue purchasing about the same amount online in 2021, suggesting food shopping habits may have changed permanently, the report explains.

-Americans are embracing new cooking methods. For example, ownership of air fryers has increased 24% and more households are turning to digital sources for recipe inspiration (YouTube use is up 50%) and promotions (consulting digital circulars for promotions increased 33%), the report notes.

The Power of Meat study was conducted by 210 Analytics on behalf of FMI and the Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and released during the American Meat Conference. Learn more here

Read more:

Red Meat Exports Thrived in First Year of U.S.-China Phase One Agreement

A Step Forward for the Pork Industry

Meat War Continues: Gov. Reynolds Proclaims “Meat on the Table Month”


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