As retailers try to gauge the impact of the economy on their businesses, new research helps explain ways your meat case might be affected by rising prices and shrinking budgets. An August 2008 study by Ipsos surveyed primary household shoppers about how economic pressures are affecting their food choices and shopping strategies. Of the adults surveyed who reported that supermarket prices had increased during the prior 6 months, 61% were indentified as “price sensitive” because they changed their shopping habits as a result of rising prices.

Two adjustments that price sensitive shoppers are likely to make at the meat case are:

  • Buy less expensive cuts and/or buy smaller packages.
    • Approximately 48% of price sensitive consumers fall into this category.
  • Reduce or eliminate purchases of certain types of food.
    • Approximately 39% of price sensitive consumers fall into this category.

Because beef gives consumers so many options in the meat case, they are still able to enjoy delicious cuts of beef, but they may choose cuts or packages that are a greater value. Price sensitive consumers report that they are purchasing steaks and roasts less; some say they are cutting back to eating steak once a week or less. According to the beef checkoff-funded Consumption Tracker Data for November 2008, of the people who report eating less steak and roast, price is cited as the top reason.

Price sensitive consumers are also more likely to have made other changes in their purchasing and meal planning, including:

  • Eating out less/cooking at home more
  • More careful meal planning
  • Purchasing less expensive food/cutting meal costs
  • Cutting back on purchases of perceived luxury items
  • Buying more store-brand items
  • Using more manufacturers’ coupons
  • Buying sale items and freezing
  • Eating more leftovers
  • Making recipes that use less expensive ingredients

For the full article, link to Beef Retail.