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Report: Meat Department Posts Strong Start To Year

meat department

The average price per pound in the meat department across all cuts and kinds, both fixed and random weight, stood at $4.55 in January, up 1.2 percent from year-on-year, according to a recent Circana and 210 Analytics report.

Processed meat tends to have the higher prices, but its average price per pound decreased for bacon, packaged lunch meat, dinner and breakfast sausage and processed chicken.

January brought year-on-year deflation for the vast majority of fresh and processed categories. Beef prices reflected a tight market once more. 

Meat sales

January brought a welcome change for the meat department with an increase in pound and dollar gain in comparison to last January. On an annual basis, pounds are getting closer to their prior-year levels as well. 

The first week of the year shows the big impact holidays have on meat department sales. With a year-over-year pound gain of 6.2 percent, dollar sales increased by 6.8 percent during the week ending Jan. 7. Both the level of sales and the comparison to year-ago levels deteriorated in the later January weeks. 

Throughout 2023, volume has hovered between one and two percent behind year ago levels, making the January performance one of the strongest in many months. 


Meat department assortment, measured in the number of weekly items per store, averaged 492 SKUs in January 2024, holding steady around 30 items below pre-pandemic levels.

Fresh meat sales by protein

Fresh experienced a strong performance in January, with pound gains for beef, chicken, turkey, lamb and fresh exotic (which includes bison). In the full year view, dollars remained in the plus whereas pounds were about 1 percent behind prior year levels. 

Processed meat

January processed meat sales were less than half that of fresh meat, at $2.1 billion. Dollar sales were flat when compared to January 2023, while pounds increased 1.6 percent. This was a better result than the full-year view that shows declines for dollars and pounds. 


The strong beef performance was driven by ground beef, which had a 3.2 percent increase in pounds. Smaller grinds, including turkey, pork and chicken, gained in both pounds and dollars in January.

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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