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WRAL SmartShopper

Cost of beef likely to increase in 2014

Posted February 3, 2014

WRAL.com Out & About Hamburger

A combination of factors, including drought and the smallest cattle herd in years, are expected to cause beef prices to rise in 2014.  According to experts, the drought affecting ranchers for the last 3 years has caused them to sell off cattle so they have enough resources for their remaining cattle. Because of this sell-off, the U.S. cattle herd is the smallest it has been in 6 decades, according to an article from Bloomberg Businessweek.    Apparently ranchers are now holding back some of their breeding cows from the market so they can increase the herd size, but it can take a few years for those calves to reach slaughter weight. 

Beef prices could rise as much as 4% this year with increases already taking place on store shelves. Now might be a good time to put a little extra beef in the freezer if you find a great deal.  Although we do not eat much red meat, rising prices would certainly encourage my family to enjoy more meatless meals.

Will you change your red meat consumption if prices continue to increase?




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  • jdouglas13 Feb 4, 2014

    Thanks Sunnyside! I'll check them out. I would expect they are pricier, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Good quality meat is something I'm willing to pay a little more for on occasion when I can.

  • sunnyside Feb 4, 2014

    jdouglas - since I gather that you are in the Clayton area based on earlier posts, you may want to try Darlene Wood of Wood Family Farms. She sells eggs and beef at the Clayton Farmers Market. More expensive than the grocery stores but far superior quality, organic, mainly grass fed, and humane treatment of the animals. There is also a CSA that delivers meat once a month to Clayton (and other areas) - Lucky 3 Farm in Louisburg. They have a Facebook page. Pastured pork, grass fed beef, free range chicken and eggs. I'm on their waiting list so I can't speak to the actual service, etc. Not the most "frugal" choices, but healthier for you and the planet, not to mention far more humane for the animals. There are other local meat sources to be found through a Google search.

  • jdouglas13 Feb 3, 2014

    This is not good news for us. DW's favorite food is beef. I thought prices seemed higher on it lately, too.

    If I ever get my freezer organized to a point where I could buy a side or half side of beef locally, I would love to do that. I like knowing where the meat is coming from.

    Can anyone suggest any local sources?

  • clinton28328 Feb 3, 2014

    I've noticed the higher prices. chuck has been on SALE for 4.29 lb recently.

  • busyb97 Feb 3, 2014

    This will make a restaurant hamburger even more expensive, I'm sure.

  • mrschizzy Feb 3, 2014

    We don't eat a whole lot of red meat as it is, just ground beef mainly. But with the prices, we have definitely cut back. Now, I am going to look local to see if I can get it any cheaper than the grocery stores.

  • busyb97 Feb 3, 2014

    Growing up, we lived off of ground beef because it was the cheapest meat, along with things like chicken legs occasionally. NOW though, ground beef is more expensive than chicken breasts at normal price! It's double or triple the price of chicken breast when they are on sale.

    I've not bought much red meat in the supermarkets the last 4-5 years because I get a cow every other year from my uncle, but last time I looked a few months back, it was around $5-6 a lb for your basic ground chuck...not even the organic! Wow. no thanks. I'll stick with buying 1/4 or 1/2 sides from my uncle or local farmers. You pay a bit up front, but it comes out to much less overall for all the cuts together.