From the Ground Up: Beef Demand Strong Despite High Prices

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 7:19 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - During the pandemic, beef has accounted for well over half of the meat market sales and despite high prices, retail beef sales are up twenty-one percent from where they were at this time last year. Richard Wortham is the executive vice-president of the Texas Beef Council.

“At least in this pandemic consumers still continued to purchase our product and then the one thing I see obviously everyone’s concerned about the price of beef and it has been high. USDA reported that all fresh beef has dropped sixty-four cents in July. It’s still fairly high. It’s now averaging about six dollars and seventy-four cents per pound.”

Wortham is hoping that prices will moderate a little.

“The projections are that by December it’ll be in the six dollars a pound range, so that’s encouraging to me. Beef still continues to be top of mind and a product that consumers purchase in the supermarket even though the prices are high. I think people are gravitating back to that comfort food because they’re cooking and preparing recipes of things that they’re familiar with but on the other hand, they’re also looking for recipes that they can be a little more experimental and try some different things.”

Wortham says that restaurants that are closed or operating at a limited capacity remain a challenge.

“Those drive-thru places where you can pick up food, they’re down but they’re conducting business which is good so we’re seeing beef going through that. And then if you look at some of the holiday weekends from Easter through Fourth of July, Fathers' Day and some of those holidays, we experienced double-digit increases in both volume and sales dollars for beef.”

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