K-State’s Glynn Tonsor sees Slight Downturn in Consumer Interest in Red Meat

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Glynn Tonsor about trends in meat demand

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with Kansas State University Extension Livestock Market Economist, Dr. Glynn Tonsor about recent trends in the meat demand survey he oversees.

Tonsor said the most recent demand survey that he helps oversee at Kansas State shows consumers are backing away slightly when it comes to purchasing red meat.

When we look at grocery store retail demand in November, meat demand was down versus October, and unfortunately also lower than it was a year earlier in November of 2021,” Tonsor said.

Flipping over to food service demand and meals consumed away from home, Tonsor said demand in November was up from October, but beef and pork meals demand metrics are down from the year prior.

“Overall, we continue to see consumers kind of tightening their financial belt, as we have described,” Tonsor said. “Inflation, while it is coming down a little bit, from the latest read that we are getting, is still above wage growth, so the average resident in the U.S. is falling behind financially, and we are seeing that hit the meat category.”

Eating at home, Tonsor said, is a good tactic to save money.

“For lunch and dinner, the percentage that said they had those meals at home in November, was up from October,” Tonsor said.

Tonsor also talked about options for those who want to keep meat in their diet while saving money.

“One can think about trading from steak to ground, or maybe from porkchop to ham and so on and so forth depending on what prices you are seeing at different times,” Tonsor said.

Individuals can still keep meat proteins in their diet, Tonsor said, by simply switching to a less expensive cut.

“The good news is, general interest in protein in the diet is actually pretty strong,” Tonsor said. “We added some questions here in November that about one-third of the population, nationally, says they intentionally include protein to their diet to help meet their personal fitness goals, whether that is jogging or muscle strengthening exercises.”

Nearly half of millennials- those born in between 1981 and 1996- are more likely to eat protein to achieve their fitness goals, Tonsor said, and only about 16 percent of baby boomers are likely to do so.

“The millennial group is a large group- their buying power continues to grow, and they are going to be here for the foreseeable future as customers,” Tonsor said.

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