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Lamb sales rose during pandemic

ENGLEWOOD, CO – While shoppers used to be wary due to its higher price tag, store sales of lamb jumped 28% year-over-year as of last month, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, beef sales rose 25.6% and pork sales increased 20.5% over the same period, reported The Seattle Times.

“Lamb has had a tremendous 2020 and continues to track far ahead of prior year sales levels in 2021,” said 210 Analytics’ Anne-Marie Roerink in an interview with The Food Institute. “When the supply for beef, chicken and pork was tight … out-of-stocks drove people to experiment with other proteins, including lamb.”

Adventurous millennial eaters and home chefs have fueled a good portion of retail demand, but there’s another factor that’s been boosting lamb’s popularity in recent years-growing demand among first-generation Americans from the Middle East and southern Europe, where lamb is a staple.

During the pandemic, “ethnic markets really stepped in and took quite a chunk of supply,” during the pandemic, said Brad Boner, VP of the American Sheep Industry Association, as reported by The Seattle Times.

Mediterranean chains, such as Cava and Taziki’s, are also helping fuel demand. Taziki’s partnered with the American Lamb Board in 2020 and the company reported an 11.3% increase in sales of their lamb-based menu items, including the lamb gyro, compared with 2020.

During the pandemic, many consumers have attempted to get the restaurant experience at home.

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