April brought some volume declines with Easter-related sales shifting from April into March this year. But good news: year-to-date sales are trending ahead of last year, particularly in the fresh perimeter, according to the April Circana, 210 Analytics and Hillphoenix Fresh Meat Performance Report.

Fresh meat held its own, up 5.9 percent in dollars and 3.1 percent in pounds. Chicken and beef experienced pound gains and grinds delivered big, including ground chicken. Processed meat had the predictable shortfall with smoked ham dollars having shifted to March.

A few highlights from the report:

  • With above-average inflation in food-away-from-home in the past few months, life remains home-centric. According to Circana’s Darren Seifer, restaurant traffic for the first quarter fell two percent, pointing to consumer anxiety to spend on food-away-from-home.
  • In an April study among 1,700 U.S. consumers, 210 Analytics found that 34 percent of consumers are worse off financially now than they were one year ago. While food-at-home inflation has been mild all year, the cumulative impact of inflation has nine in 10 shoppers concerned about grocery and restaurant prices.
  • Among those with greater financial pressure, home-cooked meals are seen as a solution to help balance spending. The study found that these households are more focused on price and sales promotions when shopping for groceries and tend to de-emphasize nutrition and time-saving solutions. They are more likely to purchase private-brand items and show a much greater willingness to change what they are purchasing, while keeping a close eye on sales promotions across multiple stores.
  • Households with improved finances are more likely to buy from restaurants more often.
  • The April numbers are impacted by Easter shifting from the second to the first quarter of this year. While the week ending 3/31 in last month’s report showed big year-on-year increases in volume across departments, the results of the week ending 4/7/2024 in this report reflect the gap versus last year’s Easter.

The full report, including April sales and volume data, is available here.