The price of raw steak fell 1.5% in July on an annualized basis and fell one percentage point from June, data from the Labor Department shows. The drop in price appears to be the result of a change in consumer behavior. Because inflation has pushed the price of beef and other foods so high, shoppers have learned to live without steak — particularly the more expensive cuts such as rib-eye and striploin. As a result, these cuts are now seeing significant price drops in response to lower demand and a return of processing plant staff, per The Wall Street Journal.
According to Fox News, in an earnings call earlier this month, Donnie King, CEO of Tyson Foods — one of the world’s largest producers of beef, chicken and pork — said that though “consumer demand for protein remains relatively steady,” shoppers are moving away from premium cuts of beef and pork to more cost-efficient meats like chicken.
Further, consumers are still buying ground beef which, though cheaper than steak, is still soaring in cost — up 9.7% from a year ago. Prices are expected to rise further as farmers sell off and liquidate cattle herds in response to the severe drought afflicting much of the country.
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The most recent cattle report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the total cattle inventory has fallen 2% since July 2021, and stock could drop further as the drought persists.
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