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August Meat Sales Remain Unchanged Versus Last Year

meat sales

The average price per pound in the meat department across all cuts and kinds, both fixed and random weight, stood at $4.63 in August, according to Circana, 210 Analytics and Hillphoenix’s recent monthly report.

This amount was virtually unchanged from levels seen last year during the same time. Processed meat tends to have the higher prices, but its average price per pound continued to come down in August, primarily driven by bacon and sausage. 

Chicken prices at retail continued to be more favorable for the consumer, at an average price per pound of $2.99. This was down 5.4 percent versus August 2022.

August was the first month in which turkey prices also came down year-on-year, whereas the renewed inflation in beef continued. The average retail price of beef increased by 5.7 percent per pound after several months of deflation. Deflation did persist for bacon and sausage. 

Meat sales

In August 2023, flat prices in combination with fewer pounds sold than last year resulted in meat dollar sales being down 1.5 percent year-on-year. On an annual basis, meat sales still tracked 0.5 percent ahead in dollars. Additionally, the 1.2 percent decline in pounds seen in August was better than average when compared to many other commodities and departments around the store.

Volume was trending closer to year-ago levels until the fourth quarter of 2022, but recovery stalled come 2023. Pounds sales trended between 2-3 percent behind the prior year levels for the first six months of the year and moved within 1.2 percent in August, despite a holiday-related boost and stronger restaurant engagement. Because of inflationary conditions having turned into deflationary or flat prices, the dollar and volume lines are starting to trend close together.   


Assortment, measured in the number of weekly items per store, averaged 490 meat and poultry SKUs in August 2023. This was down 0.5 percent compared to the assortment in August 2022.

Fresh meat sales by protein

Fresh meat pounds were very close to year-ago levels in August 2023, as were the dollars. This was driven by a strong performance in chicken as well as turkey and fresh exotic, which includes bison. In the 52-week view, chicken was the only protein that increased pound sales. The renewed inflation in beef has resulted in rising pressure on pound sales, though ground beef is an important exception, as seen later. 

Processed meat 

August processed meat sales were about half that of fresh meat, at $2.7 billion. Dollar sales were down by 4 percent versus August 2022, while pounds decreased 2.8 percent. In the 52-week view, dollar sales remained flat versus year-ago levels overall despite some struggles for packaged lunchmeat and processed chicken.


Bucking the trends seen in other areas of beef, ground beef pounds were flat and dollars increased 5.8 percent in August. Additionally, ground chicken, turkey and lamb gained in pounds in August as grinds bring affordability and versatility to the meat department.

Read more meat news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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