Domestic Retail Demand for Beef Rises while Food Service Demand Slips

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Dr. Glynn Tonsor about the latest meat demand monitor.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with Kansas State University Extension Livestock Market Economist, Dr. Glynn Tonsor, about the latest Meat Demand Monitor released on February 29, 2024.

In a summary comparing February data to January data, Tonsor said demand was up for domestic retail for six of the evaluated products. Looking at food service, Tonsor said February demand for dinner meals away from home compared to January was lower in all eight categories.

“The typical person is concerned about their finances, and it is important to clarify that sentiment is not the same as bottom-line,” Tonsor said. “They tend to be very related, but you can have a break-even or get slightly ahead from an accounting perspective, but you still don’t’ feel comfortable, or you are not optimistic that things are going to get better, therefore your sentiment is going to be eroding.”

Tonsor added that the vast majority of the public continues to report that their finances are either the same or worse from a sentimental perspective.

“They are not comfortable about it compared to a year ago,” Tonsor said. “In February, specifically, only 18 percent say that their household finances feel better than they were a year earlier.”

Tonsor said consumers’ views of their finances are relevant in a meat demand discussion because meat is a relatively expensive item. Meat demand grows when income grows, especially when consumers are comfortable with their income.

“Those that say they are feeling worse off about their finances are spending quite a bit less away from home,” Tonsor said.

Consumers are still buying beef, Tonsor added, but many are switching to less expensive cuts at the grocery store and when ordering at restaurants.

“We were most optimistic as a nation in 2021, looking at just the most recent four years,” Tonsor said. “Not surprisingly, in 2020, when the pandemic hit, people were concerned; in 2021, the pandemic got a little bit better; this was pre-inflation, we had federal government aid floating around, and all those kinds of things, so financial sentiment improved.”

Because of the environment in 2021, Tonsor said meat demand was strong. Fast forward to the most recent two years, Tonsor said there has been slippage in household sentiment and erosion of demand.

 The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

Verified by MonsterInsights