Beef price shock: it pays to shop around

WATCH: We live in a world where it’s inevitable that the price of everything will go up and in case you have noticed right now, the price of meat especially beef has been skyrocketing. Here’s David Boushy with how consumers are coping.

As we head into barbecue season, soaring beef prices have more shoppers looking for the best deals.

Prices have jumped by around 40 per cent since the start of 2013 as demand for beef continues to outstrip supply. That has many consumers turning to cheaper cuts.

“What has changed is you’ll see tenderloin customer might start buying strip loins, the strip loin customer might start buying sirloins,” said Greg Keller of Calgary’s Bon Ton Meat Market.

Keller says his shop is selling a lot more of what he calls the “off-cuts” such as brisket.

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Despite higher prices, beef producers say people are still buying.

“I think consumers may be adjusting how much beef they’re buying,” said Rich Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers. “But they’re still purchasing beef and the demand has stayed strong despite the increase in prices.”

READ MORE: Grilling gets pricey this summer 

A price check by Global News at six Calgary grocery stores on Friday found beef prices can vary widely.

<info graphic>Calgary Beef Prices June 26

Lean ground beef was selling for $15.41 a kilogram at Co-op but at Costco it was $7.59 a kilogram, a difference of roughly $8.

Superstore had the highest price for T-bone steak at almost $40 a kilogram but we found it at Safeway and Co-op for just under $31 a kilogram, a $9 dollar difference.

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A beef tenderloin steak was selling for almost $66 a kilogram at Co-op, but the price at Costco was $41.36, a difference of about $24.

Smith says if prices continue to rise, more consumers will likely turn to chicken and pork but some are optimistic prices are leveling off.

READ MORE: Chicken prices look appetizing as beef, pork prices surge

“Right now the forecasting we’re hearing from our beef buyers and all those people is it’s kind of plateaued right now,” explained Keller. “We don’t see any more future increases, but this one was unlike any other one – this one went so high so hard so fast, and we haven’t seen this before, not this hard.”

*Prices were checked on Friday, June 26 at the following stores:

Sobeys: 5105 – 17 Avenue S.E.

Calgary Co-op: 3330 – 17 Avenue S.E.

Superstore: 3575 – 20 Avenue N.E.

Safeway: Northgate Village N.E.

Costco: 2853 –  32 Street  N.E.

Walmart: Marlborough Mall N.E.


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