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My Beef With Beef

Tom Purcell on

There are few things I enjoy more than grilling up tasty steaks for a group of close friends, but red meat isn’t going to be on the menu this summer.

The cost of beef is higher than ever.

According to Bloomberg, “Food inflation has been inching up for months, driven by soaring commodity costs, costlier transportation and challenges securing labor.”

“Inching up” is putting it lightly.

“Soaring” would be a more accurate description — thanks to COVID disruptions and the crippling government lockdown policies enacted because of them.

Restaurant Business explains that in the early months of COVID, restaurants, the largest buyers of beef, shut down – slashing demand.

 

If that wasn’t bad enough, says Restaurant Business, the virus spread among workers in Midwest meatpacking plants and forced them to shut down or drastically cut production in 2020.

So why are beef prices soaring in 2021 as restaurants open and life slowly begins to get back to normal?

Along with the law of supply and demand, you can thank generous government unemployment policies.

Butchering is a labor-intensive process — but this year meatpacking plants have been unable to fill thousands of job vacancies because, in many places, the combination of state and federal unemployment payments makes not working more appealing for many than working.

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Copyright 2021 Tom Purcell, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com
 

 

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