Consumers participating in the monthly Food Demand Survey conducted by Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics reported a willingness to pay more for beef compared to last month and last year.

After remaining virtually unchanged in August, consumers indicated in the monthly survey that their willingness-to-pay for steak and hamburger increased as much as 3.7 percent. According to the survey, consumers are willing to pay $7.18 per pound for steak, up from 7.01 per pound last month and $7.16 last year, and $4.48 for hamburger, up from $4.32 in August and $4.16 in September 2013.

Compared to last month, consumers were also willing to pay slightly more for chicken breasts but less for pork products. Specifically, the willingness-to-pay for chicken breasts increased 0.2 percent, while it dropped to $4.01 per pound from $4.16 for pork chops and to $2.44 per pound from $2.68 for deli ham. Chicken wings remained unchanged. While the willingness-to-pay dropped from August to September for pork products, they are both higher relative to the same time last year.

Consumers reported spending slightly less on groceries in September compared to August, but during that same time they reported spending more eating out. According to the survey, consumers anticipate beef prices will be higher in the coming weeks, and beef-buying expectations fell compared to last month.

According to the USDA Weekly Retail Beef Feature Activity report for the week of September 12-18, 2014, there was a 7.9 percent decrease in the number of retail outlets featuring beef with a 2 percent drop in special rates and a 1.1 percent decrease in overall retail activity when compared to last week. According to the report, as summer comes to an end, retailers are beginning to run specials on the major grilling cuts in an effort to make space for larger whole muscle cuts.

E. coli, Salmonella and farm animal welfare were the top three food-related concerns consumers reported this month. This is the first month farm animal welfare ranked in the top three consumer concerns in this survey.

Staying similar to previous months, taste, safety and price remained as the top three values consumers have when purchasing foods.

The complete Food Demand Survey is available to review here