For those of us who associate summer with grilled cheeseburgers eaten on the back patio, brace yourselves: beef prices recently hit a record and are expected to remain at high levels indefinitely.
The causes seem to be Mother Nature, the domino effect, and the law of supply and demand. There have been sustained droughts in the cattle-herding states, which makes feed more expensive. More expensive feed has caused ranchers to cut back on the size of their herds. And smaller herds mean fewer cattle available to be converted into those steaks, and burgers, and roasts that Americans relish. With the supply of beef diminished, the price inevitably increases.
Don’t expect to find cheap relief for your beef craving at the local restaurant, either. They’ve been hit as hard by the spike in prices as anyone. And don’t be surprised if other meats are more costly — with beef prices hitting the pocketbooks hard, consumers will be looking for alternative meats like chicken and pork to slap on the grill, and the increased demand is causing an increase in those meats, too.
There’s nothing quite like a piping hot, melted cheeseburger straight from the grill on a summer’s day. This year, though, we may be making do with hot dogs.