Meat & Livestock News

September Sees Strong Chicken Sales Amid Changing Consumer Habits

September Overview

As September ushered in cooler weather and the return of children to school, the proportion of meals prepared at home rose to 78.8%, according to Circana‘s primary shopper survey. This trend aligns with patterns observed in 2021 and 2022, where home cooking generally increases during the autumn and holiday seasons.

Financial Pressures and Consumer Choices

The survey also highlighted that financial pressures continue to influence at-home meal preparation. About 24% of consumers are doing more scratch-cooking, and 42% are making greater use of leftovers.

To balance budgets, 89% of consumers are opting for simpler ingredients and taking advantage of sales promotions, as they perceive groceries to be more expensive than the previous year.

Savings Strategies

Consumers are adopting various savings measures, such as looking for in-store sales and app promotions (58%), cutting back on non-essentials (49%), and opting for private brands (39%). Additionally, only 16% of consumers are exploring new products, indicating a preference for routine purchases.

Home-Centric Lifestyle and Spending

The home-centric lifestyle has created opportunities for various store departments. For instance, 45% of Americans are expected to watch one or more NFL games at home, often accompanied by snacks like chips (45%), pizza (35%), wings (28%), and sweet treats like cookies or candy (21%).

Meat and Poultry Trends

Circana and 210 Analytics have delved into the numbers to understand the impact on meat and poultry sales.

In September 2023, the average price per pound for meat remained stable at $4.63, while chicken prices dropped by 5.6% compared to September 2022, making it more consumer-friendly. Beef prices, however, saw a 6.7% increase per pound after several months of deflation.

Inflation Insights

Overall food and beverage prices increased by 3.1% in September 2023 compared to the same period last year. When compared to September 2020, prices have surged by 25.8%, causing ongoing consumer concern.

Sales Performance

In September 2023, meat dollar sales declined by 1.4% year-on-year, primarily due to flat prices and fewer pounds sold. However, this decline was better than average compared to other commodities and departments.

Assortment and Product Choices

The number of weekly items per store averaged 489 meat and poultry SKUs in September 2023, a slight 0.5% decrease compared to September 2022.

What’s Next?

As the holiday season approaches, consumers are expected to maintain similar spending habits to last year, including the types of home-cooked meals prepared. The next performance report from Circana, 210 Analytics, and Hillphoenix will be released in mid-November 2023 to cover October sales trends.

For further information about Circana’s meat and poultry sales and shopper measurements, please contact A special thanks to the entire meat and poultry industry for their contributions from farm to store.