Home » IRI Reports Decline In Meat Alternatives Pulled Down May Total
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IRI Reports Decline In Meat Alternatives Pulled Down May Total


The height, widespread nature and the continued acceleration of inflation dominated the headlines in May. Whether in the grocery store, at the pump or at the movies, consumers were paying more.

“Compared with the fall of 2021, inflation is higher, more people are making changes and the supply chain challenges from labels to packaging to transportation and labor continue to be significant,” said Heather Prach, director of education for IDDBA. “The consumer reactions combined with supply side volatility are creating an environment of continued change and uncertainty and IRI, 210 Analytics and IDBBA are committed to bringing the latest trends and analysis relative to the meat alternative department.

The price per unit across all foods and beverages in the IRI-measured multi-outlet stores, including supermarkets, club, mass, supercenter, drug and military, accelerated further to an increase of 11.8 percent in the five weeks ending May 29 versus the same five weeks in 2021. Inflation was in the double digits in the center of the store as well as in perishables and compared to May 2019, prices across all foods and beverages were up 22.8 percent. 

“But the focus on inflation is not limited to the media headlines,” said Jonna Parker, Team Lead Fresh for IRI. “According to the May edition of the IRI monthly survey of primary shoppers, consumers continue to be ultra-aware and many are applying lessons learned during the Great Recession to tighten spending.” 

Total Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Combined refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives generated $118 million in the five May 2022 weeks ending May 29, which moved sales 0.9 percent behind May 2021 levels. Additionally, dollar gains were boosted by the inflation predominantly seen in frozen (not as much in refrigerated) meat alternatives. In May 2022, meat alternative unit and volume sales were down year-on-year by 10 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.

Refrigerated Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives, commonly merchandised in the meat or produce departments, saw accelerated sales growth pressure in May 2022. The five-week period saw $41.8 million in sales, down 16.1 percent versus year ago and 16.3 percent versus two years ago. 

The average items per store selling in May 2022 were down 5 percent versus year ago, at 16.8 unique items. Additionally, prices were relatively flat which means refrigerated plant-based meat alternative sales did not get an inflation-related boost either.

Price per pound 

Prices for refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives were up 1-2 percent in May 2022 versus the same weeks last year. On the other hand, animal-protein, in both meat and seafood, had significant levels of inflation.

Pound sales for refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives in May 2022 reached 5.1 million, which was down 18.1 percent year-on-year. The latest 52-week ending May view was also down, at 6.8 percent versus year ago.  

Most meat substitute forms were down year-on-year in both dollars and pounds. A few of the newer, smaller forms grew; but, they were unable to offset the losses in the bigger forms. 

Frozen Meat, Chicken and Seafood Alternatives

Frozen meat, poultry and seafood alternatives sales reached $76 million in May 2022. This is about $34 million more than refrigerated alternatives in addition to being an increase of 10.1 percent versus year ago.

However, frozen alternatives’ sales were a fraction of the $1.7 billion in combined frozen meat, poultry and seafood sales in May 2022. Dollar sales for frozen plant-based meat alternatives were boosted by inflation, while units and volume were down year-on year. The sales patterns in frozen meat and frozen meat alternatives were very similar.

For more information, visit iriworldwide.com.

For more meat, seafood and poultry news from The Shelby Report, click here.

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