What Affects the Market Price of Beef?


Quick Answer

Factors that affect the price of beef in supermarkets include the supply of and demand for beef both locally and globally. For example, in 2015, some experts say that an increased demand for beef in Asian countries, where people have growing incomes and a taste for new foods, drove up the price of beef around the world. The price of cattle feed, such as hay made from grass or alfalfa, also affects the price of beef.

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Full Answer

Feed costs are in turn affected by climate conditions, such as drought, in areas where the feed is grown. Health concerns, such as recalls of beef tainted with the bacteria E. coli or reports of mad cow disease in beef cattle stock, may make the price of beef drop.

The quality of the meat product also determines its price. For example, American-raised cows are often prized for steaks, because the grain they eat leads to good fat marbling. Therefore, American steaks may cost more than steaks from cows raised in Brazil or Canada.

Beef prices in the supermarket may also rise around holidays, such as Memorial Day and Labor Day, that many Americans celebrate by grilling, because the demand for ground meat and steaks rises.

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