Steak Could Soon Become a Rare Luxury Reserved for Special Occasions

by Matthew Memrick

Skyrocketing meat prices over the past few months may mean enjoying your favorite steak could be a champagne-like luxury reserved for special occasions.

Some quality meat products have gone up in price over the past year.

Pork chops are up 7 percent while bacon (28 percent) has risen to its highest price in 40 years, so says the Consumer Price Index. Rising prices with meat, chicken, fish, and eggs (10.5 percent) may mean you might have to go without some foods at the grocery store.

Why The High Prices?

Pandemic-related issues are to blame with supply chain disruptions, staffing issues, and inflation. 

But a top meat processor said that steak could become a luxury item because of another issue: Climate change.

“Beef is not going to be super climate-friendly,” Danish Crown Chief Executive Officer Jais Valeur said during an interview with Danish newspaper Berlingske. 

Valeur went on to say that pork’s “climate-friendly” status could make it more available to people. His company was one of Europe’s largest pork producers and a top beef market player.

But what if the meat market is to blame for the inflation? In September, National Public Radio reported that four big companies process more than 80 percent of the beef in the U.S. A similar handful of processing companies also control more than half the chicken and two-thirds of the pork in the country.

Farmers and ranchers have few options of where to sell their livestock. Many mergers in the industry have led to the point where there’s not much competition. 

Currently, the NPR report said the federal government is working to bring new meat processors into operation to compete with the big four companies. Also, the chicken market is under investigation for alleged price-fixing.

So we’ll have to see how things work out in the next few years with meat prices.

Another Meat Could Help Market

With all the meat prices surging, some think Bison meat could take over. Pohl Bison co-owner Krista Pohl said the meat’s qualities were similar and better in some instances to other beef products.

Pohl waxed on about bison’s qualities, including its low-fat content and high in vitamins. The co-owner, however, said it needed constant care as overcooking could quickly occur.

“People liked the meat, and they started coming from all around,” Pohl said. “Everybody has been very warm and welcoming. They love to stop on the road or pull into the driveway and just watch them. We feel we’ve been gifted as steward’s for the animal, and we love to share what we have.”

Stocking up on meat may be the way to go for now, and freezers may be cheap enough to hold your delicious meats, like ribeyes, T-bone, and hangar steaks.