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A new study released by the American Meat Institute (AMI) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) about meat buying and consumption habits during the recession reveals that:

• “While shoppers are eating out less and cooking more, they are also trading down, substituting and eliminating, resulting in the overall spending amount remaining roughly the same, at $91 per week. While grocery expenses may be relatively unchanged, the way shoppers are spending most certainly is not. The study found that at least half are using coupons whenever possible, buying only what they need and switching from national brands to store brands. Other popular measures include resisting luxury foods and buying items on sale.”

• More than half of respondents (51 percent) have changed their meat purchasing habits. “Popular ways to save money in the meat department include greater preparation before going to the store and a longer selection process when in the store. No less than 71 percent of shoppers say they read the grocery flyers looking for meat and poultry deals more often and more carefully than a year ago. Sixty-nine percent stock up on meat when it is on sale, and 67 percent purchase less expensive cuts either frequently or every time they shop. Others cook more casseroles or pasta dishes to make the quantity go a little further or simply buy and cook meat and poultry less often.”

• “Supermarkets continue to have high retention rates in the meat department, with 88 percent of supermarket patrons also purchasing their meat and poultry there. Supercenters, on the other hand, continue to lose business in the meat aisles with 40 percent of their patrons purchasing meat and poultry elsewhere.”

• Eighty seven percent of shoppers “compare the prices of different cuts and types of meat before making their final decision. The total package price is also growing more important compared with the price per pound.”

• “Meat sales promotions greatly influence the type of meat purchased as well as the quantity. Up by seven percentage points from 2007, 58 percent of shoppers now purchase meat in large quantities to portion up, freeze and use over time. They are also less brand-sensitive, both for fresh and processed meat, in their quest to save money. Shoppers preferring national brand processed meats, for example, dropped from 37 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2009.”

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