The retail value of "all-fresh" USDA choice-grade beef jumped to $5.28 a pound in February, up from $4.91 a year ago. Back in 2008, the same grade of beef cost $3.97, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The spike in prices has had a drastic impact on ranchers, restaurateurs, and consumers. Small businesses are struggling to find affordable beef while slaughterhouses set aside their supplies for bigwig customers like McDonald's and Burger King.
"This whole thing now is being driven by hamburger," Jerry Haines, general manager of meat supplier R.C. Provision Inc., told the Los Angeles Times. "You take all the McDonald's and Burger Kings across the United States; the amount of meat needed to make those hamburgers is forcing the value of other cuts of meat to go up."
What does that leave for small delicatessens and mom-and-pop restaurants across America? A more expensive sandwich for their customers. Pork and chicken prices have also gone through the roof to remain competitive. Maybe it's time to try out that vegetarian diet you've been considering.
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