U.S. grocery meat sales hit double digits

A report from FMI and the Meat Institute identifies a rise in consumer confidence around buying meat and cooking at home with meat products.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Sales of meat in the United States has grown at a considerable rate, according to FMI - The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute, which collaborated on its 16th annual “Power of Meat” report.

The report cites sales numbers from IRI that says meat sales in grocery stores have risen by 20% from 2019 to 2020, with Americans buying large amounts of beef, pork, poultry and lamb. 

The study finds that 3 out of 4 Americans agree that meat belongs in a healthy, balanced diet, and that 94% buy meat because it provides high-quality protein.

Of the IRI data, the report said that 98.4% of American households bought meat in 2020 and 43% have been buying more meat products than they did before the pandemic. This is largely due to consumers cooking at home more during the pandemic — IRI saw this peak in April 2020 with the proportion of meals prepared at home hitting 89% then and remained high at 84% in December 2020, well above rates seen before the pandemic.

How consumers cook at home has impacted meat sales too, with ownership of air fryers rising by 24% this year, consumers using digital sources for recipes is up 50% and taking advantage of digital promotions is up 33%, according to the report.

“Shoppers are cooking more at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their confidence in cooking and preparing meat has increased,” said Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods for FMI — The Food Industry Association. “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.”

The "Power of Meat" study was conducted by 210 Analytics on behalf of FMI - The Food Industry Association and the Meat Institute’s Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and released during the American Meat Conference.