While all markets have been impacted by inflation, the meat market has seen some of the most significant price increases, and product has become A LOT more expensive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some cuts have seen more than a 25% price hike compared to fall of last year.
Why are the prices so high? Early pandemic, increasing prices were caused by a quickly growing, and significant demand as consumers started loading their freezers. Following the spike in demand, COVID outbreaks shut down meat packing facilities leaving limited supply. Unfortunately, that is only the beginning of the meat market issue.
As in many other industries, the meat industry is affected by the same labor issues as other low wage work. Slaughtering animals and processing meat for consumption isn’t an easy job as is but adding in these additional factors have significantly affected the industry. According to an investigation led by the House of Representatives, they have found that COVID infected almost 60,000 meat packing workers and took the lives of many.
In addition to the shutdowns and outbreaks, the cost of doing business is up this year across the board, as well as a high turnover in the industry, additionally raising the cost. The price of fertilizer is up, making it more difficult to grow corn, which in turn makes it more expensive to feed the livestock. Bushels have almost doubled in price compared to this time last year. Truly, a never-ending circle with no end in sight in the foreseeable future.
Despite the sticker shock, demand continues to increase both in the US and internationally. As a result of COVID, the meat industry, as well as many other industries will be affected moving forward.