Consumer habits change anticipating higher beef, pork prices

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The price consumers are willing to pay for beef and pork products is steady with the previous month, however a survey shows as price increases, their preference for poultry products also grows.

Beef demand takes a seasonal hit in November when turkey takes center stage, but survey respondents expecting higher beef and pork prices plan to buy more chicken.

 The Food Demand Survey measures consumers’ perceptions of meat prices on a monthly basis. The November results show consumers were more concerned about finding affordable foods to fit within their budget while also meeting the three factors they value most: taste, safety and price.

Consumers were willing to pay nearly the same amount for steak, hamburger and pork chops as a month earlier, and willing to pay 15 percent more for ham. Although the willingness-to-pay price remained steady for most products, consumers plan to stay within their budget by purchasing more chicken, which they don’t expect to get more expensive in the months ahead, and eating out less often.

This month’s results show consumers were willing to pay $6.71 per pound for steak. The November price is three cents lower than a month earlier and 44 cents lower than the September results. Perhaps seeking a cheaper beef product, consumers were willing to pay $3.97 per pound for hamburger, up a nickel from October, but 19 cents lower than September. 

The willingness-to-pay price for pork chops also declined by a nickel to $3.75, however deli ham increased 29 cents to $2.59 per pound. Consumer willingness-to-pay for chicken breasts and chicken wings increased by 2.5 percent and 12 percent respectively in November. 

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Consumer food issue awareness was lower for many hot topics covered by the media. Although respondents were not aware of many food or farm-related issues, they were more concerned about several topics including GMOs, antibiotics, greenhouse gas, and farm animal welfare.

The Food Demand Survey is a monthly report completed by  Jayson Lusk and Susan Murray at the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics.

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