A sign at West Acres Grocery in Okeene displayed last month that they wouldn’t be serving bacon for breakfast because of high bacon prices. The store is now once again serving bacon to customers.
The meat shelves at the Okeene Market still have some empty space. Ron Chapdelanie is the owner of the Okeene Market and Canton Foods grocery stores. Beef prices have risen significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19 as cattle prices have dropped, creating questions about the industry and the nation’s food supply chain.
Pandemic raises prices, questions arise about food supply chain
As grocery stores became even more essential for communities across the country during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, meat prices quickly spiked in response.
“Price jumps didn’t happen immediately, but we began to see a rise in April, and through May it got worse and it got really bad at the beginning of June,” said Ron Chapdelanie owner of Canton Foods and Okeene Market.
According to Consumer Food Price Indexes and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of meat increased nearly six percent from April to May of this year and made a nearly 12 percent jump from the previous year.
For beef, and specifically ground beef, the change in the calendar from April to May brought an 11 percent increase with an additional jump of seven percent going into June. That equates to a 26 percent total price increase for beef from June 2019 to the current year.
“All of a sudden in the middle of April things really started to go up in cost, and we had to pay extra for beef. But pork didn’t rise very quickly and was slower to go up, and chicken never did rise a lot,” said Alan Deck, owner of Deck Foods in Thomas.
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