Dennis Sun: Cost Of Meat Is Not Going Down

Columnist Dennis Sun writes, "Lately, people have been asking me if the price of meat is going to keep getting higher. I have to be honest and tell them there are no signs of most meat prices going down, especially beef."

Dennis Sun

May 17, 20243 min read

Dennis sun 1 25 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Lately, people have been asking me if the price of meat is going to keep getting higher. I have to be honest and tell them there are no signs of most meat prices going down, especially beef.

National cattle numbers are still too low, and demand for U.S. beef, both domestic and abroad, is high. And remember, grilling season is just starting, which almost always raises prices somewhat.

I was lucky to find a current report from the Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on meat prices – beef, pork and chicken – for the summer and the rest of the year.

The Texas A&M University Food Price Predictor study uses current market trends, predictive models and historical data to develop a detailed projection of future meat prices.

The Texas A&M authors analyzed market data using statistical models to predict price changes for meat. The study focused on ground beef, Choice chuck roasts and sirloin steaks, all pork chops and boneless chicken breasts.

The food price predictor shows a small increase in beef and pork prices and a decrease in chicken breast prices. From September 2023 to February 2024, ground beef was up 0.45 percent and chuck roast was up 4.68 percent, while pork was down 3.93 percent and boneless chicken breast was down 2.93 percent.

The report says from May to October, 100 percent ground beef will be up 0.1 to 0.7 percent or $5.13-$5.19 per pound. Choice chuck roast will be up 0.7 to 1.3 percent or $7.21-$5.19 per pound. Choice sirloin steak will be up 0.1 to 0.6 percent or $11.72-$11.78 per pound. Pork chops will be up 0.1 to one percent or $4.24-$4.28 per pound, and boneless chicken breast will be down 2.93 percent or $4.06-$3.91 per pound.

The report said, “Price expectations are averaged across the U.S. The report notes retail prices are heavily influenced by retail location, price discounting and other market variables.”

The anticipated slight increase in beef prices, particularly for ground beef and Choice chuck roast can be attributed to the seasonal surge in demand and reduced beef production.

The trend in lower chicken prices is largely due to efficiencies gained in poultry production, increasing production and lower feed costs.

The slight uptick in Choice sirloin steak prices is a response to a shift in consumer preferences toward higher-quality cuts brought on by an improving economy and reduced beef supplies. I have noticed more restaurants are pushing sirloin steaks instead of ribeye steaks because of the price.

The modest increase in pork chops prices is because of summer increases in demand and supply levels staying the same.

Greater profitability and lower feed costs should keep chicken supplies plentiful.

And don’t forget lamb as a protein source. Always buy U.S. lamb for its quality, serving size and fresher taste.

There are a number of factors which could change these predictions. We need to realize despite our president telling us inflation is down, it is really high, especially in grocery stores.

Just remember, meat price changes are usually caused by the economy, inflation, numbers of animals processed, cost of feeding the animals, the value of the dollar and consumer demand realizing meat is the best protein source in the world.

Dennis Sun is the publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, a weekly agriculture newspaper available online and in print.

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist