Demand for beef has risen 15% since 2012, according to retail sales data cited by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. That trend is expected to continue in 2019, with USDA predicting consumers will eat nearly 9% more beef this year than they did in 2015.
Consumers not only are eating more beef, but also enjoying more high-quality beef because more cattle in the U.S. are grading higher than ever before.
Ninety-seven percent of foodservice establishments report having beef on the menu, according to a 2017 Foodservice study. Having beef on the menu has been shown to increase restaurant traffic by 45 percent, according to USDA.
Possible negative influences on beef demand this year could be found in an economic slowdown. Economists believe the first six months of 2019 appear to show an environment of slowing economic growth. Consumer confidence surveys indicate that confidence is declining, with some suggesting the outlook for the U.S. economy is the worst since mid-2014. The decline in confidence is due to several issues, including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in the financial markets and the lack of clarity about monetary policies.