Increases in meat marketing costs may have been reduced because there are fewer wholesalers in the marketing chain, according to this study of six southern metro areas. Meat wholesalers still dominate the U.S. market where major meat production and consumption areas are widely separated. But, these wholesalers face increasing competition from large chain groceries and restaurants buying meat from packers in the production centers. Wholesalers, to survive, sell in larger lots, accept smaller marketing margins, and service groceries and restaurants with specialty products. The growing trend toward away-from-home eating, much of it in fast food and chain restaurants, has eliminated some services of local wholesalers.