The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for consumers to cook more meals at home and explore new products including lamb. The new retail data released by the American Lamb Board (ALB) quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) during the first quarter of 2020.
Retail sales data analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the U.S. in the 13-week period from Jan. 1 through April 19, 2020, increased 8.5% compared to the same period in 2019, hitting 16.4 million pounds and $133.9 million in sales. As previously reported by ALB, Easter week sales of fresh lamb were strong with more than $19 million in sales across the U.S.
Total dollars spent on all lamb at retail during the first 13 weeks of 2020 increased 13.4%. With prices on the increase for all meat categories, lamb held its own with consumers’ pocketbooks. In the most recent 4-week period, all lamb dollars were up 11.7% and pounds purchased increased 3.4% over the same period one year ago.
While recent data helps quantify the short-term picture, the IRI/FreshLook analysis also looked at longer term. Comparison of the current 52-week period to the prior 52 weeks shows a 2.8% increase in lamb pounds and a 3.6% increase in dollars.
Loin was the most popular lamb cut at 25% of pounds. This is an increase of 10.5% compared to last year. So far in 2020, ground lamb retail sales are tracking higher.
The Northeastern states continue to lead the nation in lamb consumption, accounting for about 30% of dollar sales, and up 6.8% compared to the previous 52 weeks. California saw the next largest increase at 5.6% followed by the Mid-South (4.2%).
The full Fresh Meat and Lamb Review report for retail sales through April 19, 2020, is available for the American Lamb industry at https://lambresourcecenter.com/login. Members of the industry can apply for access by completing the online form.