'I've never seen prices like this before': Butcher says meat prices are up 40%

Anyone who's been to a grocery store or a butcher lately is familiar with how much food prices have gone up. Energy costs and supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to inflation across the board, but meat prices are some of the most heavily inflated products right now. 

Jim Cascone, head butcher at Huntington Meats in Los Angeles said meat prices right now are "outrageous." 

"It's not only us, it's everybody," he said. "From the packers to the distributors, everyone's feeling the crunch."

According to the Consumer Price Index, prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs have gone up nearly 13% from November 2020 to November 2021. But Cascone thinks it's much more than that. 

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"No way," he said. "Not for what I sell, because I only carry Prime beef. I'm going to say somewhere around the 40% range. I've never seen prices like this before." 

On the whole, consumer prices are up 6.8% over the prior 12 months — a 39-year-high.


President Joe Biden met with farmers and ranchers earlier this week to discuss ways to lower prices. He plans to lower prices through increased competition, particularly with processing plants. According to a recent White House report, the top four companies in each of the beef, pork, and poultry industries control the majority of the market. 

Biden outlined plans to distribute $1 billion from the coronavirus relief package to help independent meat processors expand. He also highlighted money to train workers in the industry and improve conditions, as well as issue new rules for meat packers and labeling requirements for being designated a "Product of USA."

The Justice Department and the Agriculture Department will launch a joint effort to make it easier to report anti-competitive actions to the government

Some industry groups are rallying against Biden's initiatives, while other farmers are supporting the moves.


The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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