Beef prices are poised for a surge that could last years, experts say


By Lisa Fickenscher, New York Post

August 4, 2022


Beef prices are poised to surge as a severe drought across the western US forces mass cattle slaughters — and meat distributors say the natural disaster could keep supplies tight for years.


From supermarkets to swanky steakhouses, purveyors warn that consumers could be faced with painful price increases — especially on prime meat — as soon as this month.


“We don’t know where prices could end up but it’s possible that they go back up to 2020 levels,” said Victor Colello, director of meat for the Morton Williams grocery chain in New York City.


That’s when COVID-19 outbreaks forced shutdowns at meat processing plants nationwide, tightening supplies even as locked-down consumers clamored for beef. In 2020, the grocer was selling rib meat for about $12 a pound compared to just under $9 currently. Filet mignon had soared to $18 per pound compared to $14 now, according to Colello.


Currently, meat prices are well above pre-pandemic levels in 2019, when rib meat cost $6 per pound and filet mignon was $9 per pound, he added. In June, ground chuck cost $5 per pound — not far off the high of $5.33 it hit in June 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics...


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