Beef prices at new all-time highs

Retail beef prices are at all-time highs versus competing meats.

Nevil Speer

September 24, 2015

2 Min Read
Beef prices at new all-time highs

Retail beef prices have continued an upward surge in the marketplace through mid-summer, with beef’s All-Fresh Retail Price series establishing a new all-time record versus pork and poultry in June and July.  Accordingly, this week’s illustration highlights the relative price difference between beef and its competitors. Beef is now at all-time highs versus the competing meats. Beef is running 1.65 times the price of pork and nearly 3.14 times higher relative to poultry.  

Beef’s price per pound, and the total expenditure associated with the package, is an important determinant when consumers make purchasing decisions. However, the relative price is also very important; the delineation influences consumer perception at the meat case.

That’s because purchases are rarely made in isolation. Instead, the decision to purchase is based upon a consumer’s evaluation of the relative price-value relationship. And that typically involves comparison among competing products, in this case pork and poultry. That is, consumers appraise price versus assigned value across various choices and then make a decision based on the outcome of that assessment.  

relative retail beef prices

Given the steady surge in beef prices in recent years, there’s increasing concern that it may become too expensive in the retail meat case. And if so, that could result in some demand destruction going forward. However, that seemingly hasn’t happened; but it could, given the sharp uptick in relative prices in 2015.  

Clearly, there’s a limit to beef’s pricing power. The question always remains, at what point do consumers begin to push back against beef prices? How do you perceive beef’s pricing power, both looking back and into the future? How do you perceive the customer-price-value relationship?  How much higher do you believe beef prices can go before consumers will reduce their beef purchase in favor of pork and poultry? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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About the Author(s)

Nevil Speer

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY.

Nevil Speer has extensive experience and involvement with the livestock and food industry including various service and consultation projects spanning such issues as market competition, business and economic implications of agroterrorism, animal identification, assessment of price risk and market volatility on the producer segment, and usage of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Dr. Speer writes about many aspects regarding agriculture and the food industry with regular contribution to BEEF and Feedstuffs.  He’s also written several influential industry white papers dealing with issues such as changing business dynamics in the beef complex, producer decision-making, and country-of-origin labeling.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Speer holds both a PhD in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Contact him at [email protected].

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