Retail Beef Prices Strong Despite Increased Meat Supplies

November Choice retail beef prices were $5.911/lb., up from $5.840/lb. in October and 1.8 percent above the November 2017 price of $5807/lb. However, the all-fresh beef retail price dropped to $5.603/lb. from the October price of $5.683/lb. The all-fresh price was also down 0.5 percent from the November 2017 price of $5.629/lb. For the year to date, the Choice and all-fresh retail beef prices have averaged 0.2 and 0.7 percent above last year for the same period.

Retail pork prices dropped in November to $3.701/lb. from the October level of $3.727/lb. and were down 2.2 percent from the November price of $3.786/lb. price one year ago. So far this year retail pork prices are down 1.1 percent year over year. The retail broiler composite price in November was $1.853/lb. down from $1.889/lb. in October and down 1.0 percent from the November 2017 price of $1.871/lb. For the year to date, retail broiler prices are unchanged from last year. Retail beef prices have remained strong despite increased supplies of beef and other meats. The ratio of retail beef price to broilers and to pork has averaged slightly higher in 2018 compared to 2017.

Retail meat prices do not capture prices for food eaten away from home. According to USDA, 53.8 percent of total food expenditures in 2017 were for food away from home, up from 50.9 percent just five years earlier in 2012. Over the period from 2012 to 2107, at home food expenditures increased 12.2 percent while expenditures for food away from home increased by 26.1 percent.

The fastest growing segment of at home food expenditures was in the category that includes farmer’s markets followed by mail order and home delivery. Farmer’s markets represented 0.8 percent of at home food expenditures in 2017 while the mail order/home delivery category accounted for 3.0 percent of total at home food expenditures. Most major away from home food categories showed growth over 25 percent since 2012. This includes food expenditures at full and limited service restaurants, hotels, drinking establishments and recreational places.

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