With a little less flourish than usual (although perhaps a bit more celebration), we have closed the book on 2020. As we begin to fill the blank page that will be 2021, we must carry the lessons learned with us into a new year of our “new normal.”
Case in point, the Beef Checkoff program, backed by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, has released their market research report, the “State of the Consumer,” in the fall. The purpose of the research was to identify the new consumer trends brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic and to speculate trends are likely to hold up in the long run.
A few key takeaways from the report:
- Online ordering for both groceries and complete meals grew at a faster rate than initially projected, due in no small part to the pandemic, with nearly 70 percent of respondents buying groceries online and 86 percent ordering restaurant food online. For the majority of respondents, this represents either an increase in online ordering or initial use of these services. Beef Checkoff responded to this trend by supporting suppliers with e-commerce marketing campaigns to ensure that product is able to reach the customer.
- Approximately two-thirds of consumers responded that they were still uncomfortable with dining at a restaurant, even if sitting outside (jumping to three-quarters of consumers uncomfortable with dining inside a restaurant).
- Conversely, more consumers are preparing meals at home. Consumers reported 84 percent of their meals were cooked in the home, and two-thirds said they would continue to cook more meals at home when the pandemic abates. The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” program has supported consumers by providing cooking information and recipes online and partnering with other content creators to promote beef.
- More than 60 percent of consumers reported they are “stocking up” more than they usually would because of the pandemic. All three major proteins (beef, chicken, and pork, with beef’s growth consistently higher) saw dramatic year-over-year growth of 20-50 percent per month, compared with the same month last year. For comparison, a 1-2 percent growth year-over-year would be considered significant in an average year.
- Unfortunately, this change in behavior also led to the vast majority of respondents, 91 percent, reporting that they experienced an out-of-stock experience when trying to purchase meat.
For those looking to stock up on high-quality, grass-fed beef without risking the empty store shelves, an alternative would be to buy directly from local ranchers and processors, such as Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch Beef processed at Chop-n-Block, right here in Central Florida.