Beef economist Dr. Glynn Tonsor from Kansas State University works a lot on the demand equation for the beef and pork industry. Tonsor says the latest numbers from August show a challenging picture, but consumers are still trying to figure things out to enjoy beef.
“August demand was down, retail up, food service. Narrowly we have two beef categories, so ribeye steak and ground beef, couple pork as well as chicken breasts and some other proteins that are tracked. And across the board, with the exception of plant based patties, they were just flat for the month of July. The number that said they bought their protein for at home consumption from merchandisers, so think Walmart and Target, and the number that bought it from club stores, so, think Costco and Sam’s Club, both were well up. We’ve been talking a lot about response to inflation, but I think this is an indication that folks are shifting to where they buy their protein and probably buying a bigger volume when they buy it. I mean, if you think through the outlook I just talked about, they may have a more expensive trip, but I think they’re finding ways to get the price per pound lower by buying something bigger.”
Tonsor also talked about the food service side of things.
“Now, this is a month over month statement. So, when we compare August and July foodservice demand, and even more narrowly demand for dinner meals, away from home, certainly was up and that was across the board, all the proteins, that is breaking trend from the past. We also just categorize where you have your meal, the percentage that ate away from home and August was up from July, it was flat for breakfast and was up for the other two meals. So, foot traffic was up through restaurants.”