Ringing in the new year with higher beef prices
COLUMBIA - From the farm to the grocery store to the kitchen table, beef prices continue to soar. The United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, or ERS, predicted beef and veal prices will increase anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2015 across the country.
According to ERS, grocery store prices have risen by an average of 2.6 percent per year for the past 20 years, and the trend is not expected to slow down in 2015. From January 2014 to November 2014, the price of ground beef per pound increased by 70 cents.
Columbia resident Rob Fannin said the price of meat is already outrageous.
"It's just getting ridiculous," he said. "We hardly eat bacon anymore because it's gotten so expensive, just all of the meats, the prices are all going up."
His family's annual New Year's Eve dinner almost didn't happen because of the high meat prices. When his wife went to the store to pick up food for the family's annual corned beef and cabbage dinner, Fannin said she was in shock.
"She said the price of corned beef was so expensive she almost didn't want to buy it. She ended up just buying a small one," Fannin said.
Fannin said his family tries to buy all meat on sale and use coupons to combat the high meat prices. With prices expected to rise 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2015, Fannin said his family will probably end up eating less meat.
Another Columbia resident James Scoble said he determines when to buy meat based off of his pay check and the price increases will lead him to other food sources.
"I'll eat more vegetables, rice, and pizza. Something to kind of off set meat, and drink more milk to offset the lack of protein," said Scoble.
The ERS will release average retail beef prices for January towards the end of this month. This will give a better sense of beef trends for 2015.