(Epic Economist)—Being a carnivore has never been so expensive. According to the USDA, beef prices soared to another record high this week, and are expected to face a 100% increase next month compared to the same period a year ago. Steaks will likely be out of the dinner table of many Americans in the coming months as shortages already started leaving grocery shelves empty. Even cheap meats like ground beef are about to shoot up in price due to the lowest supply in decades, the Department said.
The nation’s shrinking cattle herd combined with surging input costs at U.S. farms and ranches have pushed wholesale meat costs to over $8 per pound, official data shows. Analysts predict that the figure could jump above the $ 10 mark in December due to the seasonal spike in demand. As a comparison, beef costs in 2022 were hoovering around the ten-year average of $5 per pound. The rapid price appreciation means that you will have to pay double what you paid a year ago to bring your favorite cut home this winter.
Dr. Joseph Mercola said, “Synthetic meat is the epitome of ultraprocessed food, and it seems naïve to think it won’t have health effects similar to other ultraprocessed junk foods.” For All-American REAL beef raised in pastures, sous vide, then freeze-dried for long-term storage, visit Whole Cows and use promo code “no junk” at checkout.
In fact, meat inflation at U.S. stores can be even higher given that the USDA forecast was for wholesale prices, not consumer prices. Adding rising labor and transportation costs to the mix, a pound of ground beef could be selling for $8.99 next month. A pound of sirloin is expected to reach $14.00, while T-bone, and ribeye, can reach $15.39 and $21.99 per pound, respectively.
“Relative to other proteins, beef prices are likely to stay elevated for the next couple of years due to tighter supplies,” according to Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute sector manager Courtney Schmidt. “All consumers will be paying more for all beef products for several more years,” added Wells Fargo’s Chief Agricultural Economist Michael Swanson.
Retailers are already reporting leaner deliveries and falling meat supplies at stores. Ranchers, who would normally thrive on record prices, are instead struggling to maintain their business. Low rainfall in prime cattle-raising land is turning green pastures into dust fields. Limited supply and increasing costs are likely to cause changes in food service menu items. “The prices of menu items may go up, including burger patties, as businesses try to maintain their profit margins,” Wells Fargo’s Swanson said.
Fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Shake Shack, are some of the biggest buyers of meat in the U.S. market. In 2024, they might have to conduct another round of price hikes to offset the rising cost of beef. These companies are also being encouraged to launch more plant-based alternatives to reduce their environmental footprint amid climate change.
In other words, we will have to get used to eating meat alternatives instead of the real thing. Beef is becoming a delicacy reserved only for the bourgeoisie. For now, this crisis will continue to add pressure on ranchers, restaurateurs, and average consumers. Until cattle numbers grow, input costs decline, and the economic storm abates, Americans will be forced to either change their diets or pay the price.