Domestic meat demand remains strong


Benjamin Herrold, Missouri Farmer Today

AgUpdate - Nov 15, 2020


Evaluating meat demand goes deeper than simply looking at consumption, says Jayson Lusk, head of Purdue University’s ag economics department.


“People often look at per capita consumption,” he says. “That is what people are consuming, but also it doesn’t reflect demand. People are going to eat what we produce.”


Lusk says demand indices and price movement provide a fuller picture, and those have sent signals of strength.


“What we’re seeing there is pretty positive,” he says.


Scott Brown, Extension ag economist with the University of Missouri, says income growth impacts demand, along with prices.


“No. 1, what’s overall income growth look like?” he says. “That’s money in the pocket. I’ll start there. And second, what’s the price of these products?”


He points to average retail beef prices, which were $6.06 at the start of the year, surged to $7.59 in May amid processing plant slowdowns and shutdowns, and then worked their way back down to $6.37 by September.


“This is unprecedented what we’re going through,” he says. “It’s amazing how consistent and strong meat demand has been in the face of COVID-19. … It’s amazing how well we moved product with higher prices.”


Different demand ...


Restaurant vs. retail ...