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Stay-At-Home Consumers Bite Into Pricey Steaks

Meat-loving consumers in the United States are eating out less, but they are not forgoing taste and quality as researchers have found that more restaurant-quality prime-and choice-grade steaks are being served on family dinner tables.

Beginning in 2008, cash-strapped consumers shifted to at-home dining. As a result, with restaurant business on the decline, meat companies are now shipping more of their restaurant fare to grocery stores and consumers are buying it, according to data presented Oct. 29 at the Worldwide Food Expo.

“Before, if you wanted a great steak you had to go to a restaurant. Now you can get it in the grocery store,” Merrill Shugoll, president of Shugoll Research, told Reuters on the Expo sidelines.

Shugoll and Michael Uetz, a principal at Midan Marketing, presented their survey results and separate marketing data, which showed a 12 per cent increase in the volume of supermarket meat and poultry sales in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier.

The accompanying sales data showed sales remain strong for lower-priced meats such as ground beef, hotdogs, and chicken drumsticks. But, there was a noticeable increase in sales of higher-priced premium meats.

The sales volume of the more expensive “premium” steaks was up 15.5 per cent in the third quarter from a year ago, versus a 13.2 per cent rise in “regular” steaks, they said.

Eventually, meat prices should increase because production of beef, pork and chicken is down, said Uetz.

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