Meatless Mondays may be back, at least among those who are more frugal in their shopping habits. American consumers keeping an eye on the rising cost of groceries may want to consider reducing their purchases of animal protein, which has collectively experienced double-digit price increases over the past year.
According to the Consumer Price Index published by the government, the prices of meat, poultry, and fish have all increased by nearly 12 percent since October of 2020. According to labor statistics, the price of beef has risen even further, rising by more than 20% in the last year, while the price of chicken has increased by 7.5 percent and pork has increased by 14 percent.
Graph of Meat Inflation
According to EconoFact, a nonpartisan publication that covers economic affairs, beef, pork, and chicken prices have increased by approximately 26 percent, 19 percent, and 15 percent, respectively, since early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States.
"The meat price increases were initially caused by supply disruptions caused by packing plants closing as a result of workers contracting COVID-19," wrote Jayson Lusak, an agricultural economist at Purdue University, in a post on EconoFact. "The meat price increases were initially caused by supply disruptions caused by packing plants closing as a result of workers contracting COVID-19." "Packing has been fully resumed, but there are still additional costs associated with socially isolated workers and the addition of personal protective equipment," says the company.
Tyson Foods, which accounts for approximately 20% of total meat production in the United States, is raising prices because it is paying more for grain, labor, transportation, warehousing, packaging, and ingredients, according to CEO Donnie King, who spoke on a conference call on Monday. In his words, "It might be easier for me to tell you which component hasn't seen inflation in the last year."
According to him, the company is trying to protect its bottom line by passing on higher costs to customers by raising prices by 13 percent for the fiscal year and 24 percent for the fourth quarter.
As a result of price increases, Tyson's revenue increased by 20 percent in the fourth quarter, while sales decreased by 4 percent, in part due to plants not being fully staffed, according to Stewart Glendinning, the company's chief financial officer, in a conference call with Wall Street analysts.
During the third quarter, prices for Tyson beef increased by an average of nearly 33 percent for consumers in the United States. Prices for the company's pork and chicken products increased by 38 percent and 19 percent, respectively, during the same time period cited. Tyson's revenue increased by 12 percent to $12.8 billion during the three-month period, and its earnings more than doubled to nearly $1.4 billion, compared to the same period the previous year, according to the company.
American consumers are paying more for gasoline, heating oil, clothes, rent, and a variety of other goods and services because of inflation, which is increasing demand while reducing supply as a result of labor shortages, an increase in the money supply, and other factors.
Many Americans are finding themselves in a stressful situation this Thanksgiving, as they may not be able to afford the food for the meal-centric holiday or find everything on their grocery lists as many grocery stores have empty shelves.