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Shoppers Are Crossing Beef Off the Menu As Prices Rise

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In the last year, inflation in the United States has risen at its fastest rate since 1982, reaching 7.9%. As a result, many Americans have cut back, with the average family spending nearly $300 more a month. Now, like many items in the U.S., Americans have begun to cross beef off the menu while grocery shopping as prices continue to rise.

What We Know

  • Inflation surged this year, with national prices “on everything” at the highest they’ve been since 1982.
  • Beef prices have risen more than 16% since last year.
  • Americans have switched from chicken to beef and back to chicken as prices have varied between the pandemic and record inflation.

Beef Prices, Cost of Food Increase Dramatically

According to the New York Post, beef has been on and off the menu lately as the pandemic, combined with inflation, has drastically affected American income. The outlet reports at the moment, with beef prices 16% higher than last year, Americans have been purchasing more poultry. However, even the price per pound for chicken breasts reached a 16-year high of $3.82 per pound last month.

However, before inflation sent prices for, literally, everything to a 40-year high, Americans actually purchased more beef during the height of the pandemic. While job availability was low and prices were still increased, the outlet reports that Americans overall had more purchasing power.

Now, though, poultry again faces high demand. Daniel Romanoff, president of Bronx-based meat wholesaler Nebraskaland said, “We are seeing this shift to poultry in lower-income neighborhoods, where consumers who had more disposable income last year are now being more cautious about spending.”

Popular Grocers and Retailers See 8.1% Inflation Rate

As we know, national inflation has reached 7.9%, a record high since 1982. That said, researchers found some of the most popular grocers have increased prices by an even more dramatic 8.1%. These include Target, Walmart, and dollar stores across the country.

Chuck Grom, a Gordon Haskett analyst, shared the findings with the outlet, and stated that while 2021 saw price increases between 4% and 5%, “all of a sudden that nearly doubled.”

In regard to the rise and fall of beef purchases, Dean Baker, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, attributed last year’s spike in beef sales to pandemic-era stimulus checks, lessening the impact of increased prices.

Other grocery products that have seen significant price increases are eggs and milk. The news outlet reports that even Walmart, deemed the largest and lowest-cost grocer in the country, rose prices “dramatically.”

There, a dozen eggs now cost $2.13, previously amounting to just $1.21 last year. A gallon of milk now costs $3.51, after seeing prices around $2.82 per gallon last year.