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Meat department performs as alternatives falter

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Both units and volume of meat alternatives fall behind year-ago levels.

Meat continues to be one of the strongest departments in stores despite inflationary pressures, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics LLC. However, seafood and meat alternatives remain severely down.

The July edition of market research company IRI’s monthly survey of primary shoppers found the average price per pound in the meat department across all cuts and kinds, both fixed and random weight, stood at $4.56 in July 2022, up two cents from the June level but up 7.0% versus year ago.  

“This means meat had below-average inflation compared to totals food and beverages,” Roerink noted. “In the past few months, meat inflation has been milder than the 52-week average, indicating that the increases are moderating.”

However, inflation in processed meat stayed in the double digits, up 12.8% in July 2022.

Overall, meat volume was a mere 1.3% behind year ago levels in July.

Total fresh meat sales were up 4.0% in July, and processed meat dollars were up 8.8% year over year in July.

“Poultry delivered big, but this was inflation driven. The impact of the very inflationary levels in poultry is clear with beef and pork growing pounds year-on-year versus declines for chicken and turkey,” Roerink reported.

On the ground meat side, July was a good month for ground beef with dollar growth versus year ago, two years ago and the pre-pandemic 2019. The second-largest seller, ground turkey, also grew as did chicken. Areas that lost a little ground in comparison to last year’s sales were ground lamb and veal. Roerink called ground pork a “winning story” due to a year-on-year volume increase of 16.8%. Ground pork was up 30.1% in pounds versus 2019.

Plant-based meat alternatives fall behind

Combined refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives generated $120 million in the five weeks ending July 31, 2022. While this was a year-over-year increase of 7.6% in dollars, both units and volume fell behind year-ago levels.

Roerink said the dollar gains were mostly boosted by inflation predominantly seen in frozen meat alternatives.

“While refrigerated plant-based meat alternative buyers are spending a bit more, it is the drop in household penetration that is driving the sales declines seen since the third quarter of 2021.”

Sales for refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives were down about $3 million between the first and second quarter of 2022. Sales totaled $109 million, which was down 14.5% versus year-ago. June 2022 generated $39.2 million in sales, which was down 14.3% year over year, and as sales are lapping a period of stagnant growth, gains versus 2020 were down 14.3% as well.

TAGS: Marketing
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