We’ve been telling you, for months, that prices for Beef, Pork and even Chicken would be rising. They have done so, gradually, but did you twig to the fact that retail beef prices have increased by 44 per cent over the past two years? They’ve edged prices up a bit at a time, hoping we wouldn’t notice…
I think we can all say we’ve suffered jaw-dropping sticker shock in the meat department at our local supermarkets recently over the increases in the price of beef.
There are two aspects of the sharp price increases which bother me a lot.
One is that the average person really can’t afford to eat beef – aside from the odd fast-food burger now and then or a meatloaf or some meatballs when ground chuck is on sale. If you want a roast of beef – even a lowly pot roast – to feed a family of four, you’re looking for at least a 3 lb. / 1.5 kg piece of meat, which at today’s prices will cost you at least $40. Have you noticed, when standing in the supermarket checkout line lately, how many people use their credit cards to pay for food and other necessities? That’s just like taking out a high-interest loan adding top the horrendous burden of consumer debt that is making us all poorer.
Second: The way Beef is sold at retail has changed considerably in the past yer or so. It used to be that you could get Ground Beef at a fairly low price, and front-quarter cuts like Chuck somewhat cheaper than prime cuts from the hind quarters or loin. Now, it seems that all beef is sold at the same median retail price of about $15. per pound, or $33. per kg. It’s pretty much the same price for Hamburger and Stewing Beef as for Strip Loin or Rib Eye Steaks.
What do you do?
- You could just cut beef out of your diet. But the alternatives aren’t all that cheap, either.
- You could watch for the Weekly Specials in the flyers or unadvertised Manager’s Specials at your area supermarkets.But you and your family may not like the dishes that can be made from the cuts they feature.
- You could use the old tricks that folks in the Depression – and even now, in some impoverished parts of the world – uses to extend your Beef and other meats to feed more people for less. You already know how to add Bread Crumbs to Meatballs and Meatloaf. You could probably add more Bread Crumbs without affecting the flavour or texture negatively, plus finely-diced or food-processor-buzzed inexpensive veggies like Carrots, Celery and Onions. The latter always add flavour, especially if you lightly sautée them before mixing with the meat.
- And… You could also try accompanying smaller servings of meat on ‘combo’ plates, with vegetarian proteins. The ages-old Rice and Beans combo is a great, inexpensive way to get the essential proteins you need without resorting to Tofu, other Soy products or more-expensive meat alternatives.
So there you have it…
You can’t do anything about the soaring costs of beef. But we can do some things to lessen the impact on ourselves and our families!
Eat well in spite of it all!
~ Maggie J.