Meat & Livestock News

Meat Market Trends: A Positive Start to 2024


  • Grocery prices are predicted to slightly decrease in 2024, offering relief to consumers, though restaurant prices may rise due to increased operational costs.
  • Consumer habits show a strong inclination towards saving, with a significant number applying money-saving measures while shopping.
  • Meat sales saw a positive start in January 2024, with an increase in both pound and dollar gains compared to January 2023.

In January 2024, consumers found a silver lining with the USDA forecasting a modest drop in grocery prices, despite the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization noting the lowest food price index in three years. However, the shadow of rising labour and operational costs looms large, suggesting restaurant prices might continue their upward trajectory from the last quarter into 2024.

Consumer engagement in restaurants remained unchanged, with 80% of individuals either dining out or opting for takeout/delivery, mirroring the Circana survey’s findings. The preference for home-cooked meals also persisted, with 78% to 80% of households sticking to cooking at home.

The survey further revealed that 81% of consumers employed various strategies to save money on groceries in January, including hunting for sales, reducing non-essential purchases, and using coupons.

The new year saw 70% of consumers adopting resolutions, with a whopping 42% aiming for healthier eating or dieting, and 21% wishing to spend more time with friends and family, hinting at potential market opportunities for seasonal celebrations.

Super Bowl viewership plans were made by 55% of U.S. households, with 36% intending to buy extra snacks and 25% planning to order takeout for the event, underscoring the significant sales potential tied to major events like the 2024 Olympics and tailgating.

Inflation insights revealed a 0.9% increase in the price per unit across all food and beverage categories in January 2024 compared to the previous year, with perishable departments experiencing a slight decline in average price per unit.

Despite a slowdown in price hikes, 93% of consumers remained concerned about grocery prices. The meat department saw a 1.2% increase in the average price per pound across all types, with processed meats witnessing a price drop in certain categories.

January 2024 marked a positive turn for the meat department, showcasing an increase in sales both by pound and dollar compared to January 2023. The assortment in the meat department remained stable, albeit slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

Fresh meat sales flourished in January, with beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and exotic meats like bison seeing pound gains. Processed meat sales, though less than half of fresh meat sales at $2.1 billion, showed a flat dollar sales but a 1.6% increase in pounds compared to January 2023.

Looking ahead, February and March hold key opportunities for meat sales with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and an early Easter Sunday. The Easter season, in particular, is expected to see a shift in sales peak to the holiday week itself, with party sizes and spending anticipated to increase.

The next performance report by Circana, 210 Analytics, and Hillphoenix, set to release in mid-March 2024, will delve into February’s sales trends, offering further insights into the meat market’s trajectory.