The Reason Shoppers May Finally See Steak Prices Drop

If you've been feeling like your grocery bills have been going up and up over the last year, you're not imagining things. In May of this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their findings that food prices were up almost 11% over the 2021 to 2022 fiscal year and that meat, eggs and dairy prices were the most inflated. According to the organization, this was the largest 12-month increase since the early 1980s. 

While inflation generally plays a role in rising costs, the White House released a statement in May alleging that with only four meat processors in the U.S., there might be some level of price gouging in play. The major meat producers in the country blamed the increased price of meat on rising operating and production costs (via Vox). However, U.S. consumer protection group More Perfect Union reported that Tyson Foods had earned an additional $500 million under the cover of inflation. 

The price surge in May only increased in June, and it seemed like it would be a bleak summer for those that love cooking out with family and friends. Many may have started to wonder if meat might be more affordable outside the U.S.? Even while discouraged, however, American's decided to use the power of their pocketbooks and for now it seems to be making a difference. 

Swapping steak for sirloin

Over the last couple of months, American shoppers were able to combat the inflated prices of meat by simply leaving the more expensive cuts on the shelves and purchasing more affordable alternatives, according to The Wall Street Journal. It seems this ripple effect has been felt all the way up the chain of command because just recently meat prices began to fall. According to Bloomberg News, once shoppers began swapping steak for burgers, and pork chops for hot dogs, prices at the wholesale level began to drop, signaling that prices in stores would drop as well. 

The Wall Street Journal also notes that retailers, who have been struggling to sell higher-end cuts of meat, have had to slash prices to move inventory. Supermarkets across America are seeing prices drop on ribeye, New York strip steaks, and other more expensive cuts of meat, so at least for now steak dinners are back on the table. While only time will tell if this trend continues, it's encouraging for American consumers and a good reminder that the customer has purchasing power.