Tomorrow's hamburger may cost as much as today's steak
Retail beef prices are near record highs, and there's no indication they're coming down anytime soon.
This post comes from Catey Hill at partner site MarketWatch.
Beef: It’s what you can’t afford for dinner — for years to come.
Retail beef prices are near record highs. During 2013, the price consumers paid for ground beef climbed roughly 5 percent, according to government data beef price data released Thursday finds that consumers paid an average of nearly $3.50 per pound for 100 percent ground beef.
What's more, experts say that climbing beef prices are here to stay. The USDA's Economic Research Service projects that beef prices will rise faster than almost anything else this year. Don Close, a cattle economist with Rabo AgriFinance says he thinks prices this year could rise 7 percent 8 percent and roughly the same amount in 2015. Kevin Good, a senior analyst at cattle research firm CattleFax, says that "higher prices will continue through 2015 or 2016."
Good says that ground beef may see especially steep price hikes. He thinks that while steak retail prices could climb 5 percent to 10 percent in 2014, ground beef could climb 10 percent to 15 percent.
So what's with the sky-high beef prices? The bigger beef bills have been partially due to the fact that the cattle herd in the U.S. — the largest beef producer in the world — fell to an estimated 63-year low, according to a Bloomberg survey. "Cow numbers were down ... the lower supply meant higher prices," says William Hahn, an agricultural economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the dry spell in Texas, the nation's largest cattle producer, is exacerbating the issue of smaller herds. Plus, in 2012 and 2013, grain prices were particularly high, says Close.
That said, cattle herds are beginning to increase, says Good. But "it's not like poultry ... it takes a longer time for a cattle to be ready for slaughter." Indeed, a calf born in the spring of 2013 would be bred in 2014, might have a calf by 2015 and that calf couldn't come to market until 2016, he explains. That means that the herd growth won't translate into a ton of new supply for a while.
And though, by some measures, U.S. consumer demand for beef has been declining — 39 percent of Americans say they eat less beef now than they did three years ago, compared with just 6 percent who say they eat more, according to the NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll — some experts predict a small rise in demand or at least stable demand in the coming years as the economy improves. "While the price increases of beef are notable, this shouldn't price consumers out of the market," says Close.
Plus, says IBISWorld analyst Hester Jeon, global demand for beef is growing and exports are a solid portion of business for some cattle producers.
All of this means consumers will have to pay top dollar for beef for at least another year or two. The good news: There are a number of ways to save. Erin Chase, a consumer shopping expert for Savings.com, which makes the grocery savings app Favado, says that you should ask the meat counter clerk when certain items will likely go on sale and look for coupons.
"Typically meat goes on sale for a week at a time," she says, so stock up when the sale hits and freeze the extra meat. She adds that the warehouse clubs like Costco often have good deals on meat and that you should start keeping a list of never-pay-more-than prices; so for example, if you find a sale on hamburgers, put that price on your list and then wait to buy burgers in the future only when they are near that sale price.
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This is what comes from allowing **** militant environmentalists to convince our even bigger
**** Progressive politicians to burn our food and feed as ethanol just to pander for a few more votes. They should all be turned into fuel and burned.
The problem with the meat supply is four companies control 75% of the market and force farmers to work on contract. This in turn ruins farmers and makes them dependant on the company. When the farmer wants a fairer contract after adhering to all the corporate demands the corporation drops them and leaves the farmer in bankruptcy. Meat prices are being artificially inflated as the producers get screwed for the sake of profits.
Lets be real about one thing: Even when the herds get back to normal, we will still be paying high prices. Anyone think that when supply stabilizes, the farmers will lower the prices? AND even if they did, will the grocery stores lower the prices? No, they will keep the prices high and enjoy the exhorbitant profit.
Same thing happened with gasoline. We were told it was due to global warming, burgeoning markets in Asia, oil spills, conflict in the middle east, etc. Fact is, they raise the prices because they want to and they can.
All brought to us by the empty minded Progressive liberals....
how odd ground beef prices are going up faster then steak
don't they both come from the same dead cow?
When minimum wage goes up, the price of hamburger (and everything else) will also go up. Say goodbye to all dollar menus!
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