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Chicken Lifts Meat Sales, Reports Strong September Growth

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The average price per pound in the meat department across all cuts and kinds stood at $4.63 in September, which was virtually unchanged from the levels seen in September 2022. This is according to the annual Circana, 210 Analytics and Hillphoenix series.

Processed meat tends to have higher prices, but its average price per pound continued to come down in September, 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 $2.98. This was down 5.6 percent versus September 2022. 

September also brought year-over-year deflation for turkey, dinner and breakfast sausage, smoked ham and processed chicken, whereas the renewed inflation in beef continued. The average retail price of beef rose by 6.7 percent per pound after several months of deflation.

Meat sales

In September, flat prices in combination with fewer pounds sold than last year resulted in meat dollar sales being down 1.4 percent year over year. On an annual basis, meat dollar sales were flat. 

The 1.8 percent decline in pounds seen in September 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 2 percent in September despite a holiday-related boost in the first week.

Because of inflationary conditions having turned into deflationary or flat prices, the dollar and volume lines are trending close together.

Assortment

Assortment, measured in the number of weekly items per store averaged 489 meat and poultry SKUs in September. This was down 0.5 percent compared to the assortment in September 2022, but far less than that in 2019.

Fresh meat sales by protein

Fresh meat pounds were close to year-ago levels in September, as were the dollars. This was driven by a strong performance in chicken and turkey. 

In the 52-week view, chicken was the only protein that increased pound sales. The renewed inflation in beef has resulted in renewed declines in pound sales.

Processed meat

September processed meat sales were about half that of fresh meat, at $2.1 billion. Dollar sales were down by 4.5 percent versus September 2022, while pounds decreased 4.3 percent. 

In the 52-week view, dollar sales were down for the first time in months, mostly driven by deflation in bacon.

Grinds 

After several months of above-average performance, ground beef pounds decreased 1.9 percent in September, while dollar sales increased 6.3 percent. 

In addition, ground chicken, turkey and lamb gained in pounds in September 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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