You’re Paying Record Prices For Meat, and It’s Not Going to Change

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There’s nothing finer than sinking your knife and fork into a succulent, juicy rib-eye steak, but the cost to do so is higher than ever. Food prices have been on the rise for as long as anyone can remember, and recent trends don’t indicate any changes are expected anytime soon. In July, beef prices reached an all -time high of $3.884 per pound; a year ago, the average price sat at $3.459. That’s an increase of 42 cents, or 12 percent, in one year.

And beef isn’t alone in its uphill climb on the price chart. Prices for dairy products are also on the up and up, hitting many American families hard in the pocketbook. Prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs are climbing much more quickly than overall food prices, and worst of all, analysts don’t expect any relief to arrive any time soon.

“These record high beef prices are here to stay,” said Ricky Volpe, an economist who works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, during an interview with CNN. “It’ll be a long time until supplies will be more in line with demand once again.”

One major factor contributing to sky-high food prices, particularly of late, are the extreme droughts that are devastating livestock and crops in huge parts of western U.S. states like California, a state that is home to many agricultural industries. Beef has been one of the most obvious price bumps as a result of drought, but products like wine and fruit will also be affected in a large way.

Not only are take-home prices of beef from local grocery stores going up, but the restaurant industry is feeling the crunch, as well. Many chains are warning customers of impending price increases due to higher raw material costs despite their reluctance to do so. In order to hit target profit margins, which are notoriously thin in the restaurant industry, price increases are really the only option many eateries have to absorb the additional costs.

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