The COVID-19 pandemic has put health in the spotlight. During the tumultuous year that was 2020, personal health and the health and well-being of others was repeatedly a concern of consumers.1 When it comes to the meat case, consumers often equate “health” to natural, organic, antibiotic free and a slew of other claims-based meat products.
In March and April 2020, sales of claims-based meat spiked – likely because out-of-stocks led consumers to purchase anything that was available. However, according to data from IRI, sales volume of claims-based meat outpaced the growth of conventional meat through the summer and into the fall. During the height of the pandemic, organic beef saw volume growth of 45 percent while non-organic grew only 14 percent.2 In pork, it was meat with antibiotics claims that took off. Antibiotic-free pork grew 20 percent during the pandemic, compared to only 13 percent of pork without the claim.3
By the end of 2020, about 10 percent of regular natural and organic meat purchasers* converted to claims-based meat during the pandemic. But the real growth story comes from the fact that 35 percent of organic and 27 percent of natural meat shoppers said they are purchasing even more claims-based meat since COVID-19 began. The answer when asked why they are purchasing more? Health, health, health.4
Since health continues to be a topic of discussion and more shoppers than ever are picking up claims-based meat, it’s important to know who these consumers are and how they are shopping for their meat products of choice.