High meat prices could drive more consumers to chicken

High meat prices could drive many consumers to “shrink” chicken, according to a report by CoBank, which serves agribusiness and farm customers.

Meat retail sales and access to high-quality beef increased during the pandemic as people cooked and made their meals grilled at home.

But with inflation at a 40-year high, buyers are increasingly price sensitive. Grocery budgets are shrinking and CoBank expects buyers to buy more chicken as the year progresses.

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“As U.S. consumers notice that their dollar doesn’t get as far as it used to, they can” reduce “their protein purchases by favoring chicken more often than it used to.
case in 2021, “wrote Brian Earnest, CoBank’s chief animal protein economist.

“However, we do not expect the commitment to be as serious as what happened in 2006-15 when the chicken quickly became a major presence in
fast food restaurant menus. “

Some analysts already predict that lower-income consumers will start trading lower in 2022.

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CoBank notes that the price of animal feed has “risen” and labor and energy prices have risen. Higher meat prices are expected throughout 2022.

“If real consumer incomes continue to decline along with rising meat prices, we may finally see a significant shift in consumers’ willingness to pay for red meat, ”Earnest wrote.

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