There has been a lot of negative publicity about the health and environmental impacts of meat eating lately. Has this reduced consumers' demand for beef? Commodity organizations like the Beef Board run ads like "Beef It's What's for Dinner." Have these ads increased beef demand? To answer these sorts of questions, one needs a measure of consumer demand for beef. In my FooDS project, I try to measure this by using consumers' willingness-to-pay for meat cuts over time. But, there are other ways.
I just ran across this fascinating report Glynn Tonsor and Ted Scroeder wrote on beef demand. At the onset, they explain their overall approach.
They then show the beef demand index that Glynn has been updating for several years now based on aggregate USDA data.
In their report, Tonsor and Schroeder show, however, that measures of beef demand depend greatly on: 1) the data source being used, 2) the cut of beef in question, and 3) consumers' region of residence. For example, here is a different beef demand index based on data from restaurants (or the "food service sector") segmented into different types of beef. You'll notice the pattern of results below differs quite a bit from the aggregate measure above. And, whereas demand for steak fell during the recession, demand for ground beef rose.
Another interesting result from their study is that the commonly used retail beef price series reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't always mesh well with what we learn from from retail scanner data (in their case, data from the compiled by the company IRI). Not only are BLS prices a biased estimate of scanner data prices, the bias isn’t constant over time. In the report, Tonsor and Schroeder speculate a bit on why this is the case.
In the near future, Glynn and I aim to compare my demand measures from FooDS with these demand measures.