After jumping in the month of June, consumer willingness-to-pay for beef, pork and poultry products dropped in July but remains higher to this time last year, according to the latest Food Demand Survey from Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.
After increasing between 11 to 35 percent last month, consumers indicated in the monthly survey that their willingness-to-pay for popular protein products, ranging from steak and chicken breasts to pork chops and hamburger, was down as much as 20 percent.
Compared to the June survey, consumers’ willingness-to-pay for steak decreased from $7.52 per pound to $7.00 per pound and hamburger dropped from $4.50 per pound to $4.30 per pound. Chicken wings experienced the biggest drop, of 20.15 percent, from $2.73 per pound last month to $2.18 per pound in July. Pork chops ($3.71 per pound) and deli ham ($2.48 per pound) were also down, decreasing 10.39 percent and 14.19 percent, respectively.
While consumers reported spending slightly less on groceries in July compared to June, they reported spending nearly 6 percent more eating out. According to the survey, despite an expectation that beef prices will continue to rise in the coming weeks, there was a slight improvement in planned beef buying.
According to the USDA Weekly Retail Beef Feature Activity report for the week of July 11-17, 2014, there was a 1 percent increase in the number of retail outlets featuring beef. USDA says cuts from the Chuck, Round, Loin and Ground Beef saw more ad space this week while Rib and Brisket cuts saw less ad space.
Consumers responded to the Oklahoma State survey that E. Coli, Salmonella and GMO were the most visible food-related issues in the news over the past two weeks, and Salmonella, E. Coli and hormones were consumers’ top three food-related concerns.
The survey also asked three ad hoc questions related to what consumers believe decisions about food policy should be based on. Survey respondents indicated that a tax charged on soda should be based on the views of average Americans and on moral and ethical decisions. However, the use of the term “natural” on packaging, selling raw milk, the use of growth hormones, and labeling GMOs, according to the survey respondents, should be based on the views of experts and on scientific evidence of risk and benefit.
Finally, the survey included an open ended question related to increased efficiency and production on today’s dairies. The question asked respondents how those changes happened. According to responses, the term hormones was referenced the most at 134 responses, followed be feed choices (78 responses), science (61 responses), breeding and genetics (61 responses), drugs and steroids (30 responses), farming techniques (27 responses), and economics (6 responses).
The complete Food Demand Survey is available to review here.