Brian Sikes, chief risk officer, head of global protein and salt, Cargill: With limited options for dine-in at restaurants, especially in the fine-dining category, we are seeing consumers purchasing premium or more expensive cuts of meat at the grocery store and online to cook at home, offering a bit of affordable luxury.
More premium options, like steak, have experienced 33% growth in consumer spending and an increase of 18% in volume since May. Consumers are also venturing out, trying different types of proteins like bison and lamb. In fact, these niche proteins are outpacing growth in total fresh meat, with a 25% increase in dollars and 17% increase in volume since May. The experimentation doesn’t stop there; consumers are trying a variety of cooking methods, including smokers, which have seen increased usage as well.
While consumers will experiment, they still want easy to prepare meal solutions. While the pandemic continues to influence preferences and behaviors, we’ll continue to see people stock up on easy-to-prepare staples in times of uncertainty – including frozen pizzas, canned soups, ground beef and chicken breasts.
With a large portion of America’s school-aged children still engaging in some form of e-learning, parents are also taking on the challenge to prepare more meals at home. Our deli meats brands, such as Castle Wood Reserve, have doubled distribution in the last six months due to increased consumer demand.