It’s Still The Beef
In past columns, I’ve discussed the importance of ensuring beef producers are aware of consumers’ needs, likes and dislikes. While still important to recognize, I think it is also important to note beef is currently the top choice of protein among consumers, despite high price levels, inflation and consumers trying to save a buck.
Earlier this month, the Beef Checkoff came out with a report titled “Today’s Beef Consumer,” which lists 10 facts about the beef consumer. These 10 facts are as follows.
1. More than two-thirds of consumers eat beef on a weekly basis, but 78 percent reported they had noticed an increase in the price of food at both retail and restaurant locations.
2. The pandemic led to a return to in-home cooking for many people, a shift expected to continue as a way to combat inflation. Analysis of the report showed 76 percent of meals are now cooked at home, and 94 percent of consumers who cook more at home say they will continue to do so.
3. Fresh ground beef accounted for 50 percent of the volume of beef sales.
4. Nostalgic recipes were a big hit last year, with recipes for meatloaf breaking 1.7 million page views.
5. Per capita net beef consumption, in pounds, is projected to dip, in part, to lower supplies, going from 59 pounds in 2022 to 56 pounds in 2023.
6. Willingness to pay per pound, per steak has gone down but remains strong. Data for the last two quarters of 2022 showed price per pound of steak at $8.94 on average with the willingness to pay $8.71 per pound.
7. Beef sales at restaurants in 2022 – in both dollars and volume – rebounded to surpass the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
8. More consumers are ordering groceries online, and of those, 44 percent are including fresh beef in their orders, while 80 percent of consumers are ordering meals online from restaurants.
9. Consumers said at a rate of 15 percent, they plan to eat less beef, given that it is too expensive, other meats are healthier, they are concerned beef will negatively affect their long-term health, beef has too much fat and they are trying to eat more plant-based protein. This number was almost offset, however, by 14 percent who said they would likely eat more beef, with their number one reason being they enjoy the taste.
10. Over two-thirds of consumers are positive about beef in general and with how cattle are raised. Seventy-one percent say they sometimes or always consider how food was raised/grown when choosing a protein source.
While we need to stay aware of consumers’ needs, we should also make the public aware of the needs of beef producers. I feel there are a number of consumers who are supporting beef producers and farmers.
The current administration and some in Congress seem to be against farmers and ranchers with all of their proposed regulations on them. This will come out in the new farm bill as they want us to solve climate change issues.
They are battling us on all fronts with the Waters of the U.S. rule, endangered species, limiting fertilizer, livestock trucking and other issues.
We need to start by talking with our friends in urban areas and outside of our regions. We have proof agriculture can be the solution with carbon, water and air quality.
Proper grazing and water management make for a better environment.