Beef eaters can brace for sticker shock this summer
Burgers and steaks will cost more as wholesale prices reach all-time highs.
Sometimes it seems 2013 is turning into one hit to the pocketbook after another, with the payroll tax hike and steeper gas prices earlier this year. Now get ready for a third blow: record beef prices.
Wholesale prices hit an all-time high on Thursday, which will likely mean the priciest retail costs ever for beef in the coming weeks, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Choice-grade beef rose to a record $2.1137 per pound on Thursday, breaking a decade-old record, the paper noted in citing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While that doesn't sound like a lot, remember that's the wholesale cost. By the time the beef makes it to grocery stores, it's much more expensive. The monthly retail price for choice beef hit $5.26 per pound in April, and it's likely to climb from there.
What's driving the spike? Two years of droughts in ranching states such as Oklahoma, which led to higher feed costs and caused some ranchers to cut back on their herd size. That's sending consumers flocking toward chicken and pork, which are typically cheaper than beef.
It may be tough for many Americans to swallow the bigger beef costs, given that summer grilling season kicked off Monday. The top three weeks for beef sales are around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
"We were going to have hamburgers again, but prices were high for good meat," South Carolina resident John Boyanoski told The Wall Street Journal, adding that he planned to grill only chicken at his Memorial Day cookout. "It was a bit of sticker shock."
Rising prices may have already had an impact, as beef sales dropped 1.7% in the first quarter, according to Nielsen. Higher prices could also eat into the margins of meatpackers such as Tyson Foods (TSN) and hurt restaurants that rely on beef, such as McDonald's (MCD).
In the meantime, consumers already shelling out more for other goods may decide that chicken legs and veggie burgers look like tasty alternatives.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Every time I shop, prices are climbing. Some have doubled.
Why isn't there any consumer protection ? There have been no wage increases and fuel has been about the same for years.
Why does the Government continue to deny this drastic inflation ?
6 months into the year and I`m almost out of venison. Hate to think I`m going to have to resort to buying beef. Especially when it`s at such a high price.
Blame the drought that covered ,much of the country over the past couple years. Ranchers couldn't afford to feed or water the cattle, so they sold them off.
We recently decided that we were going to give up beef altogether, with no exceptions. The skyrocketing prices were just one reason... we made the choice for many other important reasons as well. For those who still wish to consume beef, it seems that the beef industry just doesn't get it that we no longer have 'bottomless pockets' and that we can and will make different choices if needed. The rise in prices will hurt the beef industry and it's customers, like fast food, more than the consumer as we will inevitably move on to other more affordable alternatives.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
More than 70 percent of the Class of 2012 took out loans. Oh, and they're seeing high unemployment, too.
- Plans revived for 'floating city' of 50,000 people
- Homeowners insurance: Bountiful coverage for bad cooking
- 3 stocks for the 3-D printing revolution
- Can you opt out of Medicare?
- Why restaurants are adding tablets to the tables
- America's greatest export is its debt
- True test for Obamacare: Will it make US healthier?
- Who will foot the bill for Detroit's bankruptcy?
- How to refinance without resetting the mortgage clock
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 shed 0.1%, registering its fourth consecutive decline. Today's session proved to be a bit of a roller coaster ride for stocks as the S&P 500 opened in the red, rallied into positive territory, fell to fresh lows, and regained the bulk of its losses into the close.
For the second day in a row, the early weakness coincided with heavy selling in Europe. In addition, bonds and risk assets were pressured by a better-than-expected ADP Employment report, which ... More
More Market News
For years, Todd Mills pushed Frito-Lay to make taco shells from Doritos. He died from a brain tumor on Thanksgiving.