Ten Facts About Today's Beef Consumer

Despite Challenges, Beef Remains a Top Protein Choice

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Ground beef sales are expected to stay strong, as its lower price point and a return to "nostalgic" recipes like meatloaf make it a strong choice among consumers. (Photo courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com)

Even with historic price levels, inflation and general uncertainty among consumers, a study from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) shows beef is still top choice for protein among buyers.

The report, "Today's Beef Consumer," was released in part at NCBA's annual meeting. NCBA is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. Key findings included:

1. More than two-thirds of consumers eat beef on a weekly basis. But 78% reported they had noticed an increase in the price of food at both retail and foodservice.

2. The pandemic led to a return to home cooking for many people, a shift expected to continue as a way to combat inflation. Analysis of the report showed 76% of meals are now cooked at home, and 94% of consumers cooking more at home say they will continue to do so.

3. Fresh ground beef accounted for 50% of the volume of beef sales (2022).

4. Nostalgic recipes were a big hit last year, with recipes for meatloaf on www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com having about 1.7 million page views.

5. Per capita net beef consumption (pounds) is projected to dip in part due to lower supplies, going from 59 pounds (2022) to 56 pounds (2023).

6. Willingness to pay versus price per pound of steak has gone down but remains strong. Data for the last two quarters of 2022 showed price per pound of steak at $8.94 on average with the willingness to pay price at $8.71 per pound.

7. Beef sales at foodservice in 2022 (in both dollars and volume) rebounded to surpass the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

8. More consumers are ordering groceries online (64%), and of those, 44% are including fresh beef in their orders. And 80% of consumers are ordering meals online from restaurants.

9. Consumers said at a rate of 15% they plan to eat less beef, giving the reasons that it is too expensive, that other meats are healthier, that they are concerned beef will negatively affect their long-term health, that beef has too much fat, and that they are trying to eat more plant-based protein. This number was almost entirely offset, however, by 14% who said they would likely eat more beef, with their No. 1 reason being they enjoy the taste of beef.

10. Over two-thirds of consumers are positive about beef overall, with just under half having positive perceptions about beef production, however. While only 27% of consumers said they are familiar with how cattle are raised; 71% say they sometimes or always consider how food was raised/grown in choosing a protein source.

To see the entire report, go here: https://www.beefresearch.org/….

Victoria Myers can be reached at vicki.myers@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @myersPF

Victoria Myers