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Positive news for all meats in OSU’s December 2017 Food Demand Survey

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Consumers’ willingness-to-pay experienced a not unexpected bump as the holiday season kicked into gear, with steak seeing the largest percent increase among meat products compared to one month ago.

The increase in steak demand was one of a number of consumer preferences examined by Oklahoma State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics in its monthly Food Demand Survey – or FooDS as it commonly known – released to the public on Dec. 19.

“All meats saw an increase compared to the November survey,” said Bailey Norwood, the professor and researcher who oversees the survey for OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The FooDS report tracks consumer preferences and sentiments on the safety, quality and price of food at home and away from home with particular focus on meat demand.

Steak rose from $5.71 to $6.65, chicken breast from $4.35 to $4.77, pork chops from $2.92 to $3.38, hamburger from $3.83 to $4.38 and deli ham from $1.57 to $1.79; some of the categories measured. Consumer willingness to pay for chicken breasts, pork chops and deli ham tracked lower compared to this time last year. However, steak was still a net winner, coming in at $6.59 in the December 2016 survey.

Expenditures on food eaten at home increased 0.37 percent from November 2017 to December 2017, while reported expenditures on food purchased away from home remained unchanged. According to the December 2017 survey:
● Consumers expect a slight decrease in chicken prices and a slight increase in beef and pork prices compared to one month ago;
● Consumers plan to buy more beef and pork compared to last month; and
● Consumers plan to eat out more compared to last month.

Norwood said GMOs [genetically modified organisms), Salmonella and E. coli were reported by survey respondents as being the most visible issues in the news over the past two weeks.

“The largest percent increase in awareness from November to December was for battery cages followed by gestation crates,” he said. “The largest percent decrease in awareness from November to December was for antibiotics followed by hormones.”

E. coli, Salmonella and farm animal welfare ranked as the top three food safety concerns in the December 2017 survey. Concern for all items decreased relative to last month, except for lean finely textured ground beef. The largest percent decrease in concern from November to December was for Salmonella followed by antibiotics.

“Taste, safety and price remained consumers’ most important values when purchasing food,” Norwood said. “Consumers’ food values remained similar to previous months, and similar to last month, consumers reported their main challenge was finding affordable foods that fit within their budget.”

Also notable: Losing weight was the challenge experiencing the largest percent increase, while avoiding pesticides, hormones and antibiotics was the challenge experiencing the largest percent decrease. About 4.3 percent of participants reported having food poisoning, a 9 percent increase from November 2017 survey results. About 6.6 percent of respondents reported being vegetarian or vegan.

FooDS is a monthly on-line survey with a sample size of at least 1,000 individuals, weighted to match the US population in terms of age, gender, education and region of residence. The full December 2017 survey report is available online at

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