During a year that saw COVID-19 impact the meat industry in a number of dramatic ways — including meatpacking plant shutdowns, supply shortages and out-of-stocks, limits on shoppers and the loss of significant on-premise business — it’s easy to forget that overall this was an amazing year for meat sales at grocery stores.
With Americans cooking and eating at home due to the pandemic, meat sales soared at retail. Once the hoarding ended in late spring, supply issues began to ease and most retailers were able to bring their meat selection back to pre-pandemic levels while still meeting the increased demand of consumers.
Beyond COVID challenges, there were opportunities for retailers to improve their meat sales by targeting customers seeking out value-added options, local and organic, sustainability, seafood, plant-based and other alternatives. And as cooking fatigue settled in on many consumers, savvy retailers promoted different cuts of meat, introduced new meal kit solutions, offered new recipes online and created virtual cooking and education classes to help promote their meat departments.
Here are 10 of the top news stories and trends in the meat aisle covered by Supermarket News in 2020.