Beef Prices Are Dropping Just In Time For Grilling Season

Image courtesy of Kyle Herzig

It wasn’t that long ago that red-meat-loving Americans were paying more for beef because of shortages. Now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction, meaning there should be more — and more affordable — burgers and steaks at the supermarket this summer.

Bloomberg reports that an increase in beef output in the U.S. will soon result in lower prices at the grocery store.

In fact, the price of ground beef has been on a steady decline in the last year, dropping about 9%, while steaks have dropped in price by 6.6% from the same time last year, according to a report from analysts at CoBank, noting that the decreases put beef more in line with often cheaper meats, such as pork and chicken.

Additionally, aggressive promotions from retailers has put beef front-and-center for shoppers as we enter the spring and summer grilling season.

Lower prices and warmer weather are expected to drive consumers to eat an estimated 8% more beef and chicken this summer per capita. That’s the largest increase in beef consumption since 1970, according to Bloomberg.

Analysts say these deals aren’t likely to end anytime soon.

“If you lower prices enough, you can get products sold not just in the near term, but for the next three to five months,” Altin Kalo, an analyst at Steiner Consulting Group, an economic and commodity-trading adviser, tells Bloomberg.

The decrease in price — and subsequent increase in demand — for beef is a stark contrast to recent years. Kalo tells Bloomberg that two or three years ago it was difficult for grocers to run promotions for the products.

Now, orders for beef delivery for the coming weeks has increase 34% over the level ordered last year, Bloomberg notes, adding that some of the resurgence in beef demand can be attributed to talks that China will once again import U.S. beef, something that hasn’t happened since 2003.

Of course, consumers will likely have no idea which country their meat came from. As we noted in a recent story about the ongoing Brazilian beef debacle the U.S. did away with mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) in 2015, meaning retailers are no longer required to tell customers where their beef was sourced.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.