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U.S. Meat Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Frozen, Canned, Chilled, and Fresh), Animal Type (Beef, Pig, Poultry, and Others) and Distribution Channel (Hypermarkets/Supermarkets, Convenience Stores, Specialty Stores, Online Retail, and Foodservice), Forecast, 2021 – 2028

Last Updated: May 13, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI105342



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The U.S. meat market size was USD 170.38 billion in 2020. There has been a slight impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this market, ultimately disturbing the supply chain of livestock processing in the country. According to our analysis, the U.S. market exhibited a decrease of 1.51% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 172.94 billion in 2021 to USD 215.76 billion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 3.21% during the forecast period (2021-2028). The rise in CAGR during the forecast period is because of the increased popularity of protein-rich diets during and post-pandemic.

The meat industry is witnessing robust growth across the U.S. due to the rising awareness regarding the health benefits of animal protein among consumers. The continuously expanding food industry in the U.S. has supported the growth of the industry in the country. The growing popularity of protein-rich, ketogenic diets among consumers is expected to fuel the market growth. Furthermore, the increasing demand for processed products such as ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat, and meat snacks is projected to further boost the growth of the market during the forecast period.

Disturbance in Supply Chain to Hamper Market Growth during COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global economy severely, which has resulted in various socio-economic disruptions, shutting down food production plants, and other industries. Due to the virus outbreak, the United States market was negatively impacted in the initial months, owing to the lockdown being imposed by the government, leading to a slight decline. However, the market regained its growth as the industry started to function normally after June. The promotional activities encouraged consumers to buy healthier, protein-rich nutritious products. The growing awareness regarding nutritional attributes of products increased the demand for processed beef, pork, and chicken across all distribution channels, especially online retails.


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Emerging Trend of Convenience Food Products to Fuel Market Growth

The increasing working population has led to the growing reliability of consumers on convenience foods. Consumers nowadays prefer tasteful processed foods but refrain from the time commitment for preparing such intricate preparations. The increasing availability of half-prepared food products saves preparation time, which has led to their growing popularity among consumers. This trend has positively affected the growth of the U.S. market. Food processing and food service sectors are witnessing substantial growth in the country.

The growing demand for pork, beef, and chicken across these industries to develop innovative products and offer exotic cuisines is projected to increase livestock-derived product sales during the forecasted period. The booming e-commerce channel and the current pandemic situation have resulted in more consumers spiraling towards online retail, thus accelerating the consumption of processed livestock products and paving the way for new opportunities.


Rising Demand for Animal Proteins to Drive Meat Market Growth

The hectic modern-day lifestyle of consumers across the country has increased the risk of lifestyle-related health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. The rising trend of following high-protein diets to minimize the risk of these lifestyle-related health conditions has increased the demand for protein-rich food products among consumers. Thus, the growing demand for high-protein foods ultimately drives the growth of the market in the U.S.

High protein diets are also becoming popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Thus, the growing investments by manufacturers to develop novel meat-based products and increasing promotional activities are expected to further drive sales in the U.S. Chicken, beef, and pork are now extensively utilized by manufacturers to develop healthy snacks to capitalize on the growing demand for high-protein on-the-go snacks among consumers.

Growing Popularity of Processed Meat Products to Fuel Market Growth

The rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles of the consumers have led to an increase in demand for processed and convenience products, ultimately driving the growth of the United States market. The ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook, and ready-to-serve product categories have become the go-to choice of the millennials in the country. In the past few months, amidst the pandemic, the demand for processed products such as ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat has increased due to the trend of cooking at home.

The growing inclination of consumers towards consuming flavorful and nutritious products has significantly driven the growth of the market. Consumers are exhibiting greater demand for delicious meat products as the processed food is incorporated with various seasonings, spices, herbs, and marinades which enhances the sensory appeal and the appearance of the product. The flavorings and spices give these products an umami flavor and enhanced taste to products. The emerging trend of healthy snacks among consumers has amplified the demand for snacks such as jerkies and beef sticks, ultimately increasing the demand across the food processing industry.


Rising Popularity of Veganism & Plant-based Meat Products to Act as a Key Restraint for Market Growth

Over the past few years, consumer awareness regarding the health attributes of natural, plant-based products has increased substantially. The trend of veganism has rapidly spread across the globe, increasing the demand for plant-based products. The growing perception that plant-based products are ethical and healthier than animal-based products has increased the demand for plant-based meat substitutes.

The growing popularity of veganism and plant-based products has necessitated manufacturers to invest in research and development of healthy and high-quality plant-based substitutes for meat to fulfill modern consumer demands. Various campaigns and initiatives that vegan enthusiasts take to promote veganism and reduce the exploitation of animals across the country are expected to further restrain the market growth.


By Type Analysis

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The U.S. market is segmented by type, animal type & distribution channel.

Chilled Meat Holds the Largest Market Share due to its Extensive Utilization in Households

In the U.S., meat makes a significant portion of the average diet, which provides more than 15%, 40%, and 20% to daily energy, protein, and fat intake, respectively. A variety of fresh, frozen, chilled, and canned meat is sold in the country, mainly to retailers and foodservice channels. The chilled segment dominated the market due to its longer shelf life, higher demand, and ability to transport over long distances.

Convenience is another major driving factor for the growth of the market in the country. Processed meat such as frozen and canned products require minimal processing and provide adequate nutrition. Freezing, chilling, or canning techniques remove pathogens and preserve these products for a longer time without any alteration in their organoleptic properties.

The frozen segment is driven by its rising consumption in foodservice channels, especially restaurants. In addition, frozen products are perceived to be a healthier option over canned meat and provide convenience due to less time required for cooking. The growing focus of frozen food manufacturers on the introduction of new products would also drive the growth of the industry in the U.S.

By Animal Type Analysis

Beef Segment Holds the Major Market Share and Poultry is the Fastest Growing

The U.S. is one of the largest beef producers in the world and produces more than  11.4 million metric tons every year. Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, California, and Oklahoma are the leading beef producers in the country, according to Livestock Marking Information Center data from 2017. Despite being a large producer, the country imports significant quantities of beef products from other nations. Thus, owing to higher consumption in fresh and processed form, the beef segment dominated the market in the U.S.

The poultry segment is projected to grow faster due to the increasing shift towards white meat consumption. Additionally, consumers in the country are moving towards a healthier lifestyle and are constantly seeking alternative protein sources such as meat and poultry.

By Distribution Channel Analysis

Wider Availability of Products & Freedom to Purchase Promote Sales Growth through Supermarket/ Hypermarket

The supermarket/ hypermarket industry is constantly changing at a rapid rate, and investors are making the most of buyers' comforts to offer convenient and a better shopping experience. As per the Food Industry Association 2018, around 43% of total grocery was sold through supermarket/ hypermarket in 2017, representing a major share of fresh meat sales every year. Supermarkets also emphasize meeting new regulatory requirements such as quality assurance and refrigerant leaks to avoid penalties through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and offering quality products to its consumers. The increasing digitalization across the world would also support the evolution of online retail channels. Further, the trend of convenience in shopping, growing internet usage, and hectic lifestyles have led consumers to move towards internet retailing.


Tyson Foods, Inc. is focused on Facility Expansion to Strengthen its Market Presence

Tyson Foods, Inc., a leading company in the U.S., is actively focusing on investing in the expansion of its processing facilities to strengthen its presence in the market. For instance, In  March 2020, Tyson Foods, Inc. announced the expansion of its poultry processing plant in U.S. state Tennessee. The facility expansion aims towards adding ore processing lines for the production of processed chicken. This expansion will allow the company to strengthen its business by capitalizing on the growing consumer demands for protein. The U.S. market exhibits a moderately consolidated structure, with few multinational companies holding major shares in the market. The major players such as Tyson Foods, Inc., Cargill, Inc., and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are focusing on new product developments, mergers, and acquisitions, to further consolidate the market. The emergence of small players in the market significantly contributes to the competition within the market, which positively impacts the growth of the market.


  • Tyson Foods, Inc. (Arkansans, U.S.)

  • Cargill, Inc. (Minnesota, U.S.)

  • Smithfield Foods, Inc. (Virginia, U.S.)

  • Hormel Foods Corporation (Minnesota, U.S.)

  • Conagra Brands, Inc. (Illinois, U.S.)

  • Foster Farms (California, U.S.)

  • Sysco Corporation (Texas, U.S.)

  • National Beef Packing Co., LLC (Missouri, U.S.)

  • Perdue Farms, Inc. (Maryland, U.S.)

  • OSI Group, LLC (Illinois, U.S.)


  • In July 2021, Nestle confirmed the partnership with Israel-based startup Meat Technologies to venture into a cultured meat market. As companies are looking for sustainable sources for meat manufacturing, Nestle aims to position itself as one of the first global giants to market cultivated meat products.

  • In July 2021, the US government announced plans to issue a new rule to protect farmers who raise pigs, chickens, and cows. Based on this rule, the farmers will be able to sue companies for unfair practices. The law will also change the labeling requirements for meat products and exclude the animals raised in other countries and products only processed in the US. 

  • In May 2021, Memphis Meat, a meat form based in Berkley and pioneer in cell-cultured meat, rebranded itself as UPSIDE Foods. The company announced its first product, i.e., chicken, to establish a pilot plant in San Francisco.


An Infographic Representation of U.S. Meat Market

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The U.S. meat market research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product forms, and leading distribution channels. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation:



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion)

By Type

  • Frozen

  • Canned

  • Chilled

  • Fresh

By Animal Type

  • Beef

  • Pig

  • Poultry

  • Others

By Distribution Channel

  • Hypermarkets/Supermarkets

  • Convenience Stores

  • Specialty Stores

  • Online Retail

  • Foodservice

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the value of the market was at USD 170.38 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 215.76 billion by 2028.

Growing at a CAGR of 3.21%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The chilled segment is expected to be the leading segment based on the type in the. market during the forecast period.

Rising demand for animal protein is the key driving factor for the U.S. market.

Tyson Foods, Inc., Cagill, Inc., and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are the top players in the U.S. market

The rising popularity of convenience meat products and growing demand for animal proteins are major factors driving the adoption of these products.

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