Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cash Strapped Consumers Bring the Steakhouse Home.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Meat-loving consumers in the United States are eating out less, but they are not forgoing taste and quality as researchers have found that more restaurant-quality prime- and choice-grade steaks are being served on family dinner tables.

Beginning in 2008, cash-strapped consumers shifted to at-home dining. As a result, with restaurant business on the decline, meat companies are now shipping more of their restaurant fare to grocery stores and consumers are buying it, according to data presented on Thursday at the Worldwide Food Expo.

"Before, if you wanted a great steak you had to go to a restaurant. Now you can get it in the grocery store," Merrill Shugoll, president of Shugoll Research, told Reuters on the Expo sidelines.

Supermarket sales of all meat have improved this year, which had Shugoll optimistic for better sales ahead. This improvement has been attributed to lower prices and to supermarkets aggressively marketing meat.