Beef prices spike to $5.28 per pound
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Summer is just around the corner and so is grilling season, but your next rib-eye steak will likely come with a hearty side of sticker shock.
That's because the price of beef has spiked due to extreme weather that has thinned the nation's cattle herds.
"Right now we're $6.99 a pound on rib-eyes," said John Rose, owner of Carroll's Meat Shoppe in Jacksonville. "For a Carroll's 8-ounce filet, that's $4.99 a pound. Now that's something we do for the customers. Now if you go to a chain store, you're looking at $18.99 a pound. It's as high as it's ever, ever been."
Cattle herds are at their lowest levels since 1951, which has led to an all-time high in beef prices that shoppers can't help but notice.
"My husband is a beef fiend. He absolutely loves it," shopper Darla Erdelyi said. "It's crazy. It really is. Because he does -- he wants beef. And we do enjoy cooking out on the weekends, and sometimes I'm to the point where I just can't and we're saying no, and it's just chicken, chicken and chicken."
"I'm probably going to buy some rib-eye steaks and some beef tenderloins," shopper Brian Schneider said, adding that he's concerned about the prices. "You're seeing steaks run between $12 and $14 a pound, and some here you can find for as little as $8 a pound here at Carroll's."
In February, "all fresh" U.S. Department of Agriculture beef cost about $5.28 a pound, up significantly from $4.91 at the same time last year.
In 2008, the same grade ran just $3.97 a pound.
"A 75-cent jump is a big jump in the meat industry," Rose said. "It's a wallop."
With no sign of things easing up, regular meat-eaters say they'll probably have to scale back until prices level out.
"We've got to cut down on our meat, and I need the meat to survive," shopper Trisha Ledger said.
The meat department at Carroll's said beef prices could go up another dollar a pound over the next few months. But Carroll's said it'll do everything it can to keep from pushing the cost onto its customers.
Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.