SAN ANTONIO – Above-average sales in the meat departments continued into June, according to the latest data from 210 Analytics and IRI.

“The slow march to normalcy continued during the first week of June, but sales remained well above last year’s baseline for most departments,” said Jeremy Johnson, vice president of education for the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). “June starts off with continued strength for dairy and deli sales continue to make a comeback week after week. As summer sales patterns are in full swing, but holiday celebrations will still look very different, it is important for all these departments to be high on the consumer radar with relevant and value-focused offers.” 

Still a strong performer, the meat category in the week ending on June 7 totaled dollar sales 19.2% above 2019 sales. Lamb (up 39.3%) and turkey (up 31.4%) were the top performing meats. Beef was up 23.2%, chicken was up 13.8% and lamb was up 20.8%.     

“Plentiful protein supplies and lackluster foodservice interest continue to weigh on beef, pork and chicken values,” said Christine McCracken, executive director of food and agribusiness for Rabobank.  

“Wholesale beef prices fell sharply the first week of June (down 19% from last week) as harvest levels averaged just 2% below year-ago. Pork prices also moved lower (down 8% from the prior week) on another strong week of production. We expect harvest levels to remain elevated throughout the summer as packers work through the backlog of pigs delayed due to plant closures. Chicken prices remain depressed (down 2% versus last week), despite estimated slaughter down 6% from a year ago as the impact of production cuts begin to take effect. We expect further production declines in the coming week and for prices to begin to stabilize.” 

The deli department continues to see mixed results. Overall, department sales were down 13.5%. Deli cheese was up at 11.1%, deli meat was up by 6% and deli prepared foods were down 26.8%. 

“Deli prepared is making a slow but steady comeback,” said Eric Richard, industry relations coordinator with IDDBA. “Retailers are finding solutions to bring time-saving items in ways that work for consumers, avoiding self-serve options and kiosks. Some retailers have started to remove salad and olive bars, others have reopened them as employee-served bars with minor alterations and others are repurposing buffet-style hot or cold bars into packaged food buffets with a variety of items and sizes.”