In a RBC Capital Markets survey last month, more than 50 percent of Americans said they will cutback on their restaurant dining during the next three months. They cited rising economic concerns for the reason.

The survey polled 1,000 people, of which 54 percent report that volatile stock markets, declining home values and higher energy costs will change their way-from-home dining habits. Even 35 percent of those with annual incomes of $50,000 or more say that budgetary pressures will cause them to eat out less. Looking at respondents whose annual income is less than $25,000, that level jumps to 62 percent.

RBC's survey mirrors data released by the Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household Index -- a monthly sample of 1,000 households. It showed that consumer confidence in the U.S. economy has declined significantly since August.

"This month's CASH Index, a good leading indicator of restaurant sales, does not bode well for restaurant sales," says Larry Miller, equity analyst for RBC Capital Markets. He says the negative responses from both the CASH Index and RBC's restaurant-focused survey suggest that difficult times are ahead for restaurants.

Of course, all of this means that U.S. consumers will be shopping the retail meat case, which will help fresh meat sales. Of those, pork is positioned for plentiful supplies and reasonable prices in the months ahead.

Source: Meatingplace.com