Beef Prices Could Hit 'Record Levels' This Year, Economist Warn

An abundance of widely consumed food items, including picnic meats at Walmart and McDonald's egg muffins, continue to be priced excessively, causing considerable discontent among American consumers. 

Consumers of groceries may now be confronted with additional increases in the cost of beef, a protein staple. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation economist Bernt Nelson has just released a report detailing the condition of the cattle inventory in the United States in 2024.  

Nelson noted, citing USDA data, that as of January 1, 2023, the number of cattle and heifers in the United States stood at 87.2 million, reflecting a 2% decline compared to the corresponding period in 2023.  

Nelson further stated that the January cattle inventory is at its lowest level since 1951, when an estimated 82.08 million cattle and calves were present in the country. 

Subsequent to this substantial reduction in supply, beef may regrettably become more expensive for consumers to purchase. 

Nelson elaborated that although the overall cattle population is declining, there is a 2% increase in the quantity of cattle and calves being prepared for market compared to the same period last year. 

Already, restaurants, and steakhouses in particular (Texas Roadhouse), have been compelled to raise prices in response to the escalating cost of beef. 

Nelson concluded that although beef demand is currently high in the United States, it is uncertain whether consumers will be willing or able to pay a premium for more expensive beef.  

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