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Inflation Pulls January Meat Dollars Below Year Ago Levels

IRI trends American power of meat

Last updated on March 9th, 2023 at 12:08 pm

To understand market impact, IRI, 210 Analytics and Hillphoenix have shared a new monthly update to understand the latest meat department trends. 

The average price per pound in the meat department across all cuts and kinds, both fixed and random weight, stood at $4.49 in January. Prices only increased slightly year-on-year, at 2.6 percent, continuing a trend of moderating levels of inflation that started in the second half of 2022.

As such, meat and poultry inflation was far below the January average for total food and beverages. Yet, red meat and poultry were among the top five examples cited by consumers when naming products that costs more now than they did last year. As perception is reality, it will be important to continue to underscore value and versatility.  

By protein, the moderation in price increases is driven by beef, pork, lamb and bacon in January. Chicken inflation dropped to single digits for the first time in months, while prices for fresh turkey were 11.7 percent higher than in January last year. In the 52-week view, most of the processed meat category averaged double-digit price increases, led by packaged lunch meat that was up 19.4 percent versus last year. 

January meat sales were somewhat subdued. Dollars, units and volume sales were down for both fresh and processed meat. In the 52-week view, dollar sales remain ahead of year ago levels, but pounds are trending behind. Compared to the pre-pandemic normal, pound sales are still ahead. 

January sales were affected by the below-average rate of inflation that did not provide the same boost seen in prior months plus subdued demand. Pound sales dropped 4.2 percent behind year ago levels. They were also down when compared to their January 2020 levels, the pre-pandemic normal, by 1.5 percent. 

In all, fresh meat sales decreased 1.7 percent in January as the much lower level of inflation could not offset the reduction in pound sales. Beef and chicken were the big contributors to January fresh meat sales, that totaled $4.7 billion. Chicken experienced an uptick in pounds and dollars in January and came close to matching last year’s pound sales in the 52-week view. 

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

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