Retail Beef Prices Up 13.2% In May

Retail meat case ( FJ )

Retail beef prices jumped 13.2% from April to May, and 19.3% higher than May of last year. That’s according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), which reported May’s all-fresh retail beef price was $7.04 per pound, compared to April’s $6.22 per pound.

May’s all-fresh retail beef price set a new all-time record high for the price series, dating back to July 1987, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). The Choice retail beef price spiked to $7.58 per pound, a 17.7% increased from April, and 22.9% higher than May of 2019.

“Looking further into retail beef prices, part of the increase was due to higher chuck ($7.05) and round ($6.90) prices in May which both rose 28.7% and 28.5%, respectively, from the same month last year,” LMIC reports. “Both the chuck and round were likely diverted into making ground beef which increased to $446.1 cents per pound, a 16.7% increase above last year and a record.”

Retail pork prices rose 4.0% from the prior month and 4.2% from last year to $4.05 per pound making it the highest price since November 2014 ($4.06 cents per pound). The all pork chops retail price increase 15.4% from last year to $3.97 per pound and the boneless ham price increased 9.7% from a year ago to $4.55 per pound. Increases in both pork chops and boneless ham prices likely supported the gains in retail pork prices for the month.

The broiler composite retail price rose 8.5% over last year to $2.04 per pound breaking the record price of $2.03 per pound which was set last month.

“Much of the disruptions to livestock slaughter facilities from COVID-19 occurred during the month of May,” LMIC said. “As capacity levels shrunk during the month, available supply levels became constrained but at the same time consumer demand grew at retail stores. The short-term supply disruptions coupled with consumer panic buying led to the rise in retail price levels observed in the May ERS data. As capacity levels have steadily improved, retail prices will likely start to moderate lower from the highs in May.”