4 Ways Consumers Are Trying To Solve for Food Price Inflation

Among signs that food inflation in 2023 is slowing, there’s plenty of evidence that consumers across generations, from Gen Z to boomers, have changed their shopping habits.

When it comes to fresh meat, they aren’t putting less in their baskets. In fact, the share of households buying meat or poultry at retail was virtually unchanged in 2022.1

However, the types of fresh meats they purchased – and where they purchased it – did change, as they adopted new behaviors in response to food price inflation.

How Shoppers Reacted

Consumer research points to four major purchasing trends that emerged in 2022, with some more tied to specific generations than others.

1. They searched for deals.

Shoppers watched for weekly specials, markdowns and coupons to manage U.S. food inflation in 2022. In all, 35% of meat shoppers looked for coupons, according to The Power of Meat 2023, and 25% specifically sought out on-pack coupons.1

According to PYMNTS.com, “70% of U.S. shoppers reported using and being aware of coupons, promo codes and rewards in 2022, up from 59% in 2021.”

To help consumers cope with inflation, and build loyalty, some retailers promoted price freezes on everyday and seasonal items. Others used shelf stickers and social media ads to draw attention to markdowns.

What’s the takeaway? Pay attention to Gen Z shoppers, who chose less expensive cuts and helped drive growth in ground meat sales.


of meat shoppers looked for coupons


Specifically sought out on-pack coupons

2. Instead of eating out, they recreated restaurant meals at home.

Foodservice meals are 4 times more costly, on average, than home-cooked meals.2 Consumers responded in 2022 by eating fewer meals in restaurants. Just over 70% of meat shoppers said they ate at restaurants less often, according to The Power of Meat 2023.

For those who cut back on eating out, 87% tried to recreate the types of meals they enjoyed at restaurants.1 This trend is affecting recipe ideation, with consumers turning more frequently to recipe websites and YouTube.

What’s the takeaway? Gen Z and millennials are the most inspired to cook restaurant-style meals at home. Frequency of recreating restaurant meals also increases with income, and that means more opportunities to attract shoppers with premium meat and poultry.1


Of those who cut back on eating out have tried to recreate the types of meals they enjoyed at restaurants

3. Shoppers bought in bulk.

In 2022, eight in 10 meat consumers said they were adjusting how much meat and poultry they are purchasing. Of that group, four out of 10 said they had shifted to buying larger bulk packs to save money over time.1

The percentage of consumers who buy refrigerated meats and poultry for several meals in one shopping trip increased to 50% in 2022, up from 42% in 2019.

What’s the takeaway? Gen X shoppers are buying more at clubs and supercenters; 42% buy family or bulk packs.1 But this is not just a Gen X trend. According to The Power of Meat 2023, 44% of Gen Z and 45% of millennials said they bought in bulk as a way to offset food price inflation.1

“Buying only what’s needed”

became the top money-saving measure in 2022.

4. They purchased smaller packages or only what they needed.

Remember how four out of 10 consumers said they had shifted to buying in bulk? An equal number were buying smaller packages of meat to manage grocery inflation.

In fact, “buying only what’s needed” became the top money-saving measure in 2022. It’s also one of the reasons behind the decline in volume sales last year.1

What’s the takeaway? This trend was driven by boomers, 41% of whom said they were buying smaller packages of meat in 2022.1

Look Forward

Whether slowing inflation will affect these trends remains to be seen. Regardless of how things change, Tyson Foods is ready to support you with insights, innovative solutions and unmatched service.

1 Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics LLC, The Power of Meat 2023, Report sponsored by Sealed Air Food Care Division/Cryovac® and Published by FMI and the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education
2 Retrieved from www.iriworldwide.com, March 2023

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