Latest Meat Monitor Reveals Over 85 Percent of Americans Consume Meat- and the Number is Growing

Listen to Glynn Tonsor talk 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 K-State Meat Demand Monitor. The MDM project is funded in-part by the beef checkoff and the pork checkoff and has been produced regularly since February of 2020.

To check out the latest Meat Demand Monitor released on May 29, 2024, click here!

In the latest report, Tonsor said in May compared to April of 2024, willingness to pay for retail (grocery store purchases to prepare at home) was higher in five out of the eight categories tracked in the monitor. Food service demand had a different trend, Tonsor said, as demand for eating out during dinner meals was down in seven out of eight categories tracked.

Tonsor said lower demand for eating out is consistent with financial sentiment and concerns that are ongoing.

“In May, only 16 percent indicated their household finances were better than they were in May of 2023,” Tonsor said. “The rest say their finances are stable or 37 percent have said they have been declining, which is not good.”

The punchline for meat, Tonsor added, is that the consumption of the major proteins tracked by the MDM (beef, pork, chicken, and fish/seafood) are all consumed more for those who report their finances are improving.

“What we need to see from our macroeconomic perspective is more people in the public saying my finances are improving, and therefore you kind of have a wealth effect and comfort with your finance effect that would pull additional consumption and demand for these meat products,” Tonsor said.  

Regarding a figure called “Protein Values” in each MDM report, Tonsor said consumers rate their top four priorities and least four priorities when purchasing meat portion out of 12 choices: taste, freshness, safety, price, nutrition, health, appearance, convenience, hormone or antibiotic-free, animal welfare, origin traceability, environmental impact.

“Taste, freshness, safety and price regularly are top determinants for the typical or middle-of-the-road U.S. resident,” Tonsor said. “The more production practices- sometimes we call them social issue items-such as environmental impact, origin traceability, animal welfare, and use of hormones or antibiotics have negative numbers on these charts.”

Lastly, Tonsor said consumers are asked how they self-declare their diet. Tonsor said most of the population considers themselves regular consumers of animal products (75% of the public.) Tonsor said 12 percent of the population are flexitarians, which means they consume meat, just not as regularly as others may.

“If you sum that up, that is over 85 percent of the public that is a regular meat consumer,” Tonsor said.

This means that only a small portion of the public is vegetarian, Tonsor said, and that number of vegetarians continues to decline.

“We definitely live in a meat-consuming country,” Tonsor said.

To check out the latest Meat Demand Monitor released on May 29, 2024, click here!

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