With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a massive shift in consumer behaviour across several industries. The meat supplying industry in particular has had an increase in demand for transparency and more visibility into where the product is coming from; leading many smaller local suppliers, who have been adhering to such practices, see an unexpected boom in business.
Because of Covid-19 concerns several major meat suppliers have been forced to slow down operations or shut down their plants for a few days, leading to a shortage of supply. This has allowed smaller local producers of primarily organic meats to help fill the demand.
A well-known local supplier of organic and pasture-raised meats, has been focusing on providing their customers with transparency into their processes and produce for years. They promote the visibility of their supply chain on their website and app, which does not consist of middlemen to advance their meats from farm to table. This has enabled their sales to double in their butcher shop, and quadruple in their online capacity during the uncertainty of the pandemic.
The demand for meat across the country has grown this year. Consumer insight statistics according to Nielsen reveal a significant increase in sales. Local and smaller suppliers have reported that they have seen a rise in interest and demand in some of their more ‘niche’ meat products; many of which have gone out of their way to reassure the public that the meat supply chain remains intact.
As the pandemic continues to dip the American economy further into recession with almost 40 million Americans claiming unemployment, it is important to note that many people may not necessarily be willing or even able to pay a higher price for meat. However, most market analysts believe this could push consumers to realize that higher quality meat products are a safe and sustainable option. At least 22,000 plant workers across the food industry have tested positive for Covid-19, it is not incorrect to presume that customers will feel safer and much more at ease purchasing produce that has been fed and raised in a secure and transparent manner.
This may lead to a greater market potential for suppliers operating smaller chains of butcher shops and meat packing plants. Taking on producing, coordinating and delivering consistent supply while maintaining transparency and a standard of quality for a mass market will take time to establish and perfect. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed forward the demand for greater visibility and transparency of supply chain processes, and this shift is most likely here to stay for both smaller and larger producers.