There's no end to the economic headlines that have been brought about by the coronavirus. The fear of transmission has caused people to head to the grocer story in record numbers across the entire US. But some of the most attention-grabbing have had to do with meat and poultry. These items can't be produced as safely as they were given the threat of the virus.
The adjustment in patterns has led markets to try to keep up with all of the changes as best as possible, which has been difficult to say the least. Considering leaders and employees have to be mindful of the virus as much as consumers do, it's worth looking at the challenges we've been seeing in an effort to understand what the future will look like.
Up and Up Sales
The overall demand for food in grocery stores has come down since the pandemic panic hit in March, but it's still 13% more compared to the numbers from 2019. So while people may not be stocking up for the next few years, they're much more resigned to cooking at home rather than heading out to the many restaurants around then (and that's even as things reopen).
The slaughter of animals has slowed down, and that's in addition to several meatpacking plants closing. This has understandably led to an increase in retail prices of food, with the index going up .03% in March and 1.5% in April. In comparison, meats, fish, and poultry went up by 4.3%.
It's worth noting that not all meat prices have gone up uniformly. For example, there's been more demand for ground beef than for boneless beef stew. This is an interesting piece of data when you consider that beef production in April was a fifth lower than in April 2019. Pork fell by 10%, turkey fell by 9%, and chicken remained unchanged. It's clear that consumers are also willing to adjust to other types of protein in their lives as meat prices go up, as we've seen in the rise of demand for eggs.
There are no dire predictions about a breakdown in the supply chain. In fact, meat supply facilities have already begun to adapt to the new guidelines on the table. This includes everything from enforcing the wearing of masks to social distancing workers as much as possible. Implementing these new precautions has placed an emphasis on worker safety without destroying efficiency. It's why consumers have already seen the price of some products start to stabilize again. The latest news we have shows that wholesale prices, in particular, are no longer increasing.
The food market stocks for this year and next are predicted to be healthy, with production expected to increase across every sector except for wheat. FreshByte Software knows just how important it can be to have the right data at your side. It's what helps leaders make decisions and ensures that products are safe for the public. When the parameters can change on a dime, wholesalers need a way to track their information reliably. Call us today to see how our software can help.