Pandemic underscores Beef Demand Trends


Oklahoma Farm Report

01 Apr 2021


It’s been a year. A long, arduous year since last March when grocery stores and restaurants around the world had their business plans radically changed in just a few days.


As they adjusted day-to-day operations, one beef industry trend resonated louder: "quality matters."


David O’Diam saw it unfold from his perspective as vice president of retail for the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand. Retail beef sales during the pandemic displaced much of the trade usually enjoyed by foodservice.


It took 2.43 million cattle to supply the 608 million pounds (lb.) of CAB cuts sold by 3,000 retail partners in fiscal 2020. That’s more than the volume of all USDA Select beef.


"Most folks were working from home and had more time," O’Diam said. "They were cooking more than they ever had, so they educated themselves on what quality meat is. That helped drive demand for high quality like Certified Angus Beef to all-time historic levels."


For a fraction of the price, their expensive nights out became affordable at home, he said, but sales extended beyond steaks. The chuck and round primal cuts gained value on their middle-meat counterparts. Consumers looked for the logo they recalled from their favorite restaurants.


With more entertainment dollars diverted to retail, those who did continue to venture out to dine concentrated on a high-quality eating experience.


Restaurants are still struggling...