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The high cost of beef is your fault


From a purely economic standpoint, the high cost of beef is your fault. Beef is in such high demand right now that it’s in short supply. Really, this is an issue of supply and demand. Canadian economists estimate that on average, beef consumption will fall by about one pound per person over the next year. Consumers are not willing to raise their weekly food budget to accommodate higher beef prices. It is important to realize how severely high the cost has become. The following chart shows that on average, the cost of stewing beef for example, has increased by 30.4% from September 2013.

















AAA premium roast carved at a local restaurant.

Chart showing annual price of various cuts of beef in Canada.

The shortage is impacting consumers at the point of purchase. This is an example of a problem with production that has trickled down to the consumer level. Now the issue is difficult to correct because there are many stakeholders involved in the farm to fork operation. Unfortunately, high prices are driving people away from buying beef entirely. This is because the prices at stores are starting to fluctuate, and the high production cost is reflected in the price on the shelves. Although this high cost of beef has been an ongoing problem for several months, it is really beginning to impact restaurants now. Menu planners are forced to raise the prices of beef dishes to avoid losing money from serving premium cuts.


I believe that years may set us apart from lower prices on livestock herds. Inevitably, higher levels of production will eventually cause the price of beef to decrease. This is because of how the cattle market functions that is, the cycle begins with calves. From my experience, the minimal amount of time to produce an animal is a year and a half. Customers will eventually garner this relief but it won’t be for a while.

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