Operators should expect higher beef prices this year as inflation takes hold and supplies tighten.

“The 50,000-foot view is that all meat will be more expensive when calculated through 2021,” said Kevin Good, VP of Industry Relations for CattleFax, an independent research, information and analysis service for the beef industry. “Grain prices are higher, exports are stronger and there’s a tighter supply of all proteins.”

At around this time last year, restaurants were closing and foodservice meat supplies were diverted to grocery stores. Restaurants are the main purchasers of beef, especially higher-end cuts and steaks, but the full-service market virtually disappeared overnight. Then the coronavirus spread among workers in meatpacking plants, and facilities were forced to shut down or drastically decrease production.

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