Do more holiday gatherings make consumers less inclined to pay high prices for meat?

Dive Brief:

  • Consumers' willingness-to-pay for meat products fell almost across the board in December compared to the previous month, according to Oklahoma State University's latest monthly Food Demand Survey, Meatingplace reported.
  • Pork chops posted the largest decrease at 8.14%, followed by chicken wings (-2.9%), chicken breast (2.76%) and steak (2.66%). Hamburger remained relatively flat with a slight 0.24% uptick.
  • Consumers consistently report finding affordable products that fit within their budget to be the largest food purchase-related challenge. The challenge posting the largest percentage increase was avoiding pesticides, added hormones and antibiotics, while finding foods children will eat saw the largest percentage decrease.

Dive Insight:

While the survey reports the dip in consumers' willingness-to-pay for meat products, it doesn't elaborate on why that might have occurred. One hypothesis is that around the holidays, consumers may have to buy more meat products, potentially even in bulk, to serve at holiday gatherings. They may then expect to pay less per ounce or pound than usual to make up for the bulk weight purchases the holidays require.

It's unclear whether this trend will continue, but the statistics in this survey paint a bleak picture, at least for now. While most categories dipped in consumers' willingness-to-pay from November to December, all categories fell, year over year — some significantly.

Global food prices dipped slightly in November, according to the FAO Food Price Index, which countered food prices' steady rise throughout 2016. This index tends to reflect pricing based on supply and production trends across various segments. But if prices fall with any regularity going forward, this could contribute to consumers' willingness-to-pay totals in the coming year.

Filed Under: Manufacturing Grocery Meat / Protein
Top image credit: Flickr user Phil Denton