Meat Sales Down and Prices are Increasing Across the World
Just in time for grilling season, meat prices are increasing globally. A report in Bloomberg found in the United States, the sales of meat at grocery stores are down by 12% from the previous year. In Europe, sales are expected to fall 1%. Beef consumption in Argentina, the 3rd largest consumer of beef, is down 4%. Due to the global supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the price of meat has been rising since October 2020.
“Meat markets of all types are enjoying strong demand. In numerous cases, wholesale prices for specific meat products are at record levels, exceeding the levels provoked by the pandemic disruptions one year ago. Unlike last year, lack of supply is not the issue. Year-to-date production of beef, pork, and broilers is higher, not only compared to last year but also higher than 2019 levels,” said Derrell Peel, livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
In Buenos Aires, Ricardo Lamboglia, a butcher, told Bloomberg how the area once filled with customers is empty. “We used to sell 4,000 to 5,000 kilos a month, and it’s now more like 2,000. People these days are counting their pennies.”
The rise in prices has led some to forgo meat. Naoko Yamamoto, chair of the United Nations Nutrition and the World Health Organization’s assistant director-general for universal health coverage, said in a statement, “Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and cereals are essential. But nutrient-dense animal products are uniquely effective for pulling young children back from the brink of acute and chronic malnutrition.”
For some products, such as chicken wings, the rising prices, global pandemic, and natural disasters have caused restaurants to stop selling wings to customers. Peel said wing prices surpassed the $3 per pound mark, and at retail, Walmart has 4-pound wing packs selling for nearly $3 per pound, which is almost double the typical $1.50 to $2 per pound prices for wings.
Tom Super, the National Chicken Council spokesperson told USA TODAY, “Chicken producers are doing everything they can to overcome the devastating impact of Mother Nature when she inflicted the once-in-a-lifetime winter storm on Texas and nearby states – major chicken producing regions.” While trying to appease customer’s desires for meat, some companies, such as Wingstop, have expanded their offerings and innovated their menus. The chicken wing chain restaurant launched “Thighstop”, an online-only delivery service serving chicken thighs.
As the world slowly goes back to normal, there is hope for both the declining sales and increasing prices. According to Reuters, China has reported its best 2nd quarter for pork production in over 7 years. Pork is the most consumed meat in China, and the production is up 35.9%.