A report published last Friday from data analytics company IRI found as availability of beef and pork dropped due to meatpacking shutdowns and slowdowns, so did the sales growth of plant-based meat alternatives from the same period last year.
According to the Plant Based Foods Association, plant-based meat retail sales were up 90% from last year in mid-March as customers were panic-buying foods. However, the IRI report shows that the dollar growth of plant-based meat alternatives from the same week of the previous year dropped from 79% the week of April 26 to 57% the week of May 24.
During that period of time, pork and beef capacity utilization had fallen and was still recovering. Pork capacity utilization fell to about 53.9% on April 9, but slowly climbed to 95% by the end of June, according to the USDA. Steer and heifer slaughter fell by 41% below the prior year by April 27, while bulls and cows fell by as much as 41% below the year prior.
“At the time the economic environment was most opportune for consumers to switch from beef and pork to plant-based alternatives, it seems that few made that substitution,” Jayson Lusk, a professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, said in a blog post.
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