A majority of respondents (51%) blamed COVID-related shutdowns for the dramatic increase in meat prices over the last year, according to the latest Consumer Food Insights report by Purdue University. The top five causes also included labor shortages across supply chains, higher prices for animal feed, higher energy prices, and higher wages across supply chains.

The report notes that market concentration in the meat packing industry has received national media attention in recent months, with the Biden administration arguing that industry consolidation is partly responsible for climbing grocery prices. Yet a relatively small percentage of respondents in the survey (8%) attributed high prices at the store to “concentration and market power.”

Consumer Food Insights is a monthly survey of more than 1,200 Americans from across the country produced and run by the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability (CFDAS) at Purdue University to track trends and changes in consumer food demand and food sustainability behaviors.

Other key insights from January include:

  • 21% of respondents purchased their last groceries online
  • 32% of respondents are waiting for their next paycheck to buy groceries again
  • 46% of respondents ate home-cooked meals 4-6 times per week
  • 11% of respondents identified as a vegetarian or vegan
  • 25% of respondents were unable to find a specific food product at the grocery store, including top items like chicken, beef, dairy, and bread products

About 1,200 consumers responded to the online survey conducted Jan. 18-20 by the market research firm Dynata.

The full report can be accessed here.