From the Ground Up - Consumers are Still Buying Beef

With calf prices being at all- time highs, the prices of your favorite cuts of beef have also gone up, but despite that, demand for beef remains strong.

Dan Hale is a Texas A&M Agrilife Extension professor and meat specialist.

“Beef cattle prices are really high which is related to very high retail meat prices and it’s been surprising to us that consumers have still had a very strong demand for beef, even at these higher prices. We do see a shift in what consumers are buying. They’ll buy more ground product, and maybe more chuck, but they’ll also buy more of just what’s on special.”

Spring causes most people in our part of the country to fire up their grills.

“We’re also seeing now, of course going into grilling season and all that, a very high demand for these other beef cuts as well. What people have told me is that consumers, because the media has put out there, and accurately so, that beef prices are going to be high, and are going to be high for a long time, that consumers have decided that they’re just going to bite the bullet and they’re going to buy beef because they like beef, because it’s a normal part of their diet.”

Hale says that Texas has very strong retail grocery stores that are fighting for their share of the consumer market, and they’re not just fighting for beef, but for fish, bread, cereal, and all of your other purchases.

“So what retail grocery stores do, they do what they call a loss leader, and they’re going to find a product, and they will generally sell that product under the price that they purchased it for, in order to draw people in to buy that product, but also buy all of the other things that would go along with their weekly shopping list.”

That explains why in some instances you can buy sirloin steak cheaper than you can ground meat.

“You’ll go over and see other beef prices where rib eye steaks and tenderloins at ten, eleven, twelve dollars a pound, and so people will buy those on special occasions still, and it sounds like since it’s grilling season they’re going to buy that a little bit more, but they’re going to go more often to that loss leader.”

So apparently, in many cases, beef is still what’s for dinner.