Many Americans celebrated over the declining gas prices due to shocks to the petroleum markets. However, celebrations may be short lived because a different shock has come to the foods industry, which seems also to be manufactured. MSN Money reports it is causing abnormally high meat prices for the future, which could have major impacts on restaurants.
Fresh meat prices escalated 8.1% in stores, compared to the same period last year, according to Nielsen data for the week ending April 25.
Experts expect prices to skyrocket in the coming weeks, as meat processing plants across the U.S. are forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pork and beef prices could increase by as much as 20% compared to 2019, according to a new report from CoBank, a cooperative bank that is part of the Farm Credit System.
A 20% increase would be an unprecedented price hike, according to Will Sawyer, CoBank’s lead animal protein economist. Pork prices have only experienced inflation of more than 10% twice in the last 20 years; neither time did inflation grow to 20%.
Pork and beef production has plunged by roughly 35% compared to this time last year, according to the CoBank report. As a result, Sawyer says, grocery stores running out of products and price inflation are “nearly assured.”
Some 115 meat and poultry processing plants have reported COVID-19 cases, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week. There have been 4,913 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths among workers, as experts say meat processing plants are becoming the next hotspot for the pandemic. (source)