2017 meat forecast: What’s happening with your proteins?

Butchers everywhere always want to know which meats make the cut for consumers and which ones are on the proverbial chopping block. By adjusting their inventories accordingly, butchers can turn a good profit and reduce their chances of overspending on unpopular products.

That means it’s time for a quick protein-powered update on upcoming pricing trends in meat, which will in turn affect sales at your supermarket, delicatessen or independent butchery in 2017.

  • What’s the beef with beef? – After steep price climbing from 2014 to 2015 and a sizeable projected decrease in cost throughout 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service predicts beef and veal will continue their downward trend in 2017, albeit by only 1 or 2 percent.
  • Little piggy went to market – Pork in 2017 will see similar economic activity. The USDA believes the anticipated 6 to 7 percent annual drop in 2016 will even out the following year or perhaps fall slightly by a measly 1 percent.
  • Ruffled feathers – Chicken, turkey and other poultry will buck the trend by increasing in price by 2 to 3 percent in 2017, thus effectively negating their 2 to 3 percent projected decrease in 2016.

What does this mean for your equipment needs?

As butchers, delis and prepared food departments start to examine their operations for 2017, how might this forecast inform any upcoming equipment purchasing decisions or other in-store necessities?

“When it comes to meat, millennials value ease of preparation.”

Price continues to lead consumer opinion
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and the North American Meat Institute, meat lovers still care most about price per pound and total package price than anything else.

When the survey segmented baby boomers and millennials, however, its results indicated a noticeable divide in preferences. While both generations favor price, millennials value ease of preparation over boomers by a wide margin. Butchers or supermarkets that offer supplementary marketing material or recipes touting the simplicity of cooking with certain meat products could win over younger shoppers.

Go for more grinders
Consumers will likely stick with red meats in 2017 since the prices of beef, veal and pork are poised to fall, however slightly. As such, businesses should invest in additional meat grinders and mincers or models with higher capacities.

Formulate a patty plan
When beef prices fall, burgers see a boost in popularity. Patty formers are a must-have in 2017 for any supermarket, butchery or prepared foods department selling raw patties or full-service dine-in meals. If you don’t want patties to run off with your on-site efficiency, choose automated machines that stack and insert paper between patties.