The ‘Big Four’ Reasons We Pay So Much for Beef
How much Chuck, would a Chuck Roast Cost if a Chuck Roast went in your cart at the supermarket today? If you guessed about $9.00 per pound you would be correct. The cost of meat has never been higher and it doesn't look like it's going down anytime soon. So, what gives with the high prices? It turns out there are four reasons.
Four Major conglomerate Meatpackers, it would seem, get most of the credit. According to High Country News:
"About 35 million cattle are slaughtered in the U.S. annually by 60 major beef-packing operations processing around 26 billion pounds of beef. Four firms control over 80 percent of all the beef slaughtered."
Get to know the names of the four companies that get most of the credit. Tyson, JBS, Cargill, and National Beef purchase and process 85 percent of beef in the United States.
I feel for our producers. Calving season is no picnic. Dry years make for a short feed supply and there's that occasional call that says your cattle are out, on the highway, at night. It's a tough racket that is even tougher when producers walk into a store and see what the consumer is being charged.
Google it up today. Four-Big-Beef Processors and you'll see a rash of stories that all say the same things. Claims of price-fixing to actual requests to break up the four conglomerates.
It's not really just meat. The Big Stores are doing the same things. Bigger stores, more production, lower prices, for a while. Then, when they are the only game in town or one of the only games, the prices go up. That is if the truck that delivers the goods gets there. Or if there is someone to unload the truck before the products go bad. But that's a story for another time.
By the way, I just checked at a local store. $8.99 per pound for a chuck roast. You're in the $12 range EASY if you start looking at steaks of almost any kind.
So, what's a family to do? Well, we're from cattle country. I'd say, find a local producer, buy a freezer, and split the processing with a friend. But you better get that scheduled soon. Deer season is almost here and they'll be busy too!
Do you have anything you would like to add to the story, or did I miss an important component? If so, I'd like to hear from you. Email me anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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