Why Are Fewer Grocery Shoppers Buying Meat? Declining Grocery Sales, Prices, and Cultural Change

38 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2024

See all articles by Carl Meyer

Carl Meyer

Stanford University, Department of Economics

Zach Freitas-Groff

Stanford University, Department of Economics

Trevor Woolley

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 15, 2024

Abstract

The past decades have seen a number of new policies and food technology businesses concerned with alleviating animal welfare or environmental impacts of animal agriculture. We study whether there is evidence that consumer behavior is changing in parallel by examining real grocery purchases matched with machine-scanned label data. We find that meat consumption has been at its highest in recent years, consistent with prior observations, but we offer the first observational evidence that a growing share of the population is purchasing less or no meat and other animal products. While some of this trend can be explained by changes in the volume of grocery purchases, we suggest that media and generational turnover are further driving this trend. We finally discuss the plausible effects of meat alternatives, finding that while they affect meat consumption at a low volume now, they could play a major role in the future.

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Carl and Freitas-Groff, Zach and Woolley, Trevor, Why Are Fewer Grocery Shoppers Buying Meat? Declining Grocery Sales, Prices, and Cultural Change (May 15, 2024). Kilts Center at Chicago Booth Marketing Data Center Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4867295 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4867295

Carl Meyer

Stanford University, Department of Economics ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Zach Freitas-Groff (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Economics ( email )

Stanford, CA
United States

Trevor Woolley

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States

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