Data from retail data science, insights and media company 84.51° found 43% of consumers are cooking dishes with less meat because of high grocery costs.

Consumers trading down to less expensive meat: survey

Drew Angerer / Staff via Getty Images

Dive Brief:

  • Consumers are being more selective about their meat purchases as inflation continues to weigh on their wallets, with 37% of those surveyed saying they are purchasing cheaper cuts of meat, according to a March report from data analysis group 84.51° 
  • While consumers continue to prioritize proteins, 43% of respondents said they are cooking dishes which use less meat, such as casseroles and tacos. Only 12% said they are not stretching their budget purchasing meat.
  • While food inflation has come down from its peak in mid-2022, consumers still face heightened costs compared to meat prices before 2020, and their purchasing behavior reflects a desire to seek higher value products for a lower cost.

Dive Insight:

The 84.51° data indicates shoppers are looking for deals on products like ground beef and sausages as they continue to see prices rise across spending categories.

According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Consumer Price Index, the cost of meat items increased 0.1% in February compared to the previous month. The cost of beef and veal products saw a 7.4% year-over-year spike compared to a February 2023 baseline. But a more positive sign for consumers came in the poultry category, which saw a 1.3% decrease in prices compared to January.

While prices are a major consideration for consumers assessing their grocery spending, they continue to prioritize the product’s quality and flavor when actually deciding to buy a meat product. Sixty percent of survey respondents listed taste as their top concern, followed by value (55%) and buying items that keep them full and nourished (50%).

According to 84.51°, protein consumption has not dramatically changed in the last year, with 66% of respondents stating that their household is consuming about the same amount as they did in 2023.

Another change in purchasing behavior the survey pointed out came in organic meat, as 10% of consumers noted that they traded down from organic products to non-organic, because of the premium costs. A noteworthy point the survey found was that 43% of consumers find hormone-free meat to be a consideration they take into account when purchasing meat products, the most of any label.

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