For many, summer is a season filled with afternoons at a water park and evening meals consisting of a nicely grilled steak. However, for some who may not be able to afford it, that steak may have to wait. The prices for many meats, including beef and pork are rising and this price hike will affect the upcoming barbeque season.
According to many owners of meat shops, the wholesale prices for meat have increased 20 to 30 percent in just a few months. This price hike will be passed on to the customers as well and soon enough the cost of meat could make a difference in how families plan their meals. With no end foreseeable reduction in their costs in the near future, many butchers are challenged to provide their customers with reasonable prices for meat.
The rising cost of beef is not a new phenomenon and it affects customers all over North America. In Canada, prices for beef have doubled over the past five years. The biggest increase being observed for ground beef, which increased by 43 percent since 2010. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the price of ground beef has seen an increase of 56 percent since 2010, while beef steaks are at their highest price point in 20 years.
The increase in beef prices affects barbecue season dramatically as pork has also become more expensive. Pork prices remained consistent over the years, however a significant amount of the pork supply has been eradicated in the United States due to the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that was discovered a year ago. Since its discovery, it has killed millions of pigs, many of which were just piglets. The disease has also been confirmed to have affected multiple swine herds in Canada. As much of the pork supply in North America has been eradicated, the wholesale price of pork has increased from roughly $80 per hundred pounds to over $100 per hundred pounds which makes pork a rare meat. It is important to remember that this increase in pork prices is relatively recent and pork prices are predicted to increase even further which will financially affect customers in the coming months.
The reason for increased beef prices is much more difficult to nail down. All factors including the drought in the U.S. and an exceptionally cold winter have been considered, but it is much more likely that the cause is something bigger. Part of the reason is believed to be increased grain prices, and the idea that farmers are much less interested in maintaining livestock herds. Growing demand for beef overseas is also blamed for skyrocketing prices.
Another significant factor in the increased price of beef is the action of the Wolverine Packing Company which had to recall 1.8 million pounds of ground beef when concerns over E. coli contamination were brought to light. Much of the beef had been shipped out for restaurant use in the states of Michigan, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Ohio.
It is predicted that with an increased demand for beef, the farmers will invest in livestock again. This will drive the prices down and the customers will see the shift in just a couple of years. Until then, the customers will have to deal with the rising cost of beef which will affect their barbecue season.
By Ivelina Kunina