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DWYM: What can you do about rising beef prices?

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jun 14, 2021

That apparent Russian hack last month of a meat processing company is now starting to have an impact across the United States.

Consumer reporter John Matarese shows how it is beginning to impact supplies and the way we pay for beef, so you don't waste your money.

Just as grilling season kicks into high gear, beef prices are shooting up again.

And if you're planning to buy steaks, prepare to pay more.

At Lehr's Prime Market, the prices are mirroring those across the nation.

"I got a whole bunch, how do you want them cut up?" one butcher said.

Customers like Bruce Pennington are seeing the cost of their summer barbecue going up, again.

"Steaks and roasts, that's just crazy!" Pennington said.

Owner Allison Homan is trying not to pass every supplier hike on to her customers.

"We are doing our best to keep our margins as low as we possibly can," Homan said. "But at some point there are certain margins we have to make to stay in business."

Now, a hack has temporarily paused production at one of the world's biggest beef producers -- JBS Meat Products -- with five U.S. plants.

Luckily Lehr's gets their beef from local farms, but those prices are up too.

"They raised it $9 a pound, that's tenderloin, that's our cost," she said.

Purchasing manager J.T. Homan has been forced to raise the price of tenderloin filets to $28 a pound, the highest cost ever.

"Ribeyes, those were raised $5 a pound," he said. "Strips are $4."

So what's a consumer supposed to do?

Well, the easiest thing is to buy a cheaper cut of beef, like sirloin, and then well marinate it.

Or you can buy a more unusual cut of beef, where prices haven't gone up so much.

"Our prime beef, and Wagu options, haven't been raised at all, and I think that's because they are not commodity items, not everyone uses them the same way," she said.

Allison wishes she could predict lower prices this fall - but

"Everyone is hopeful things will even out or even come back down a bit, but no one really knows what the future holds," she said.

Butcher shops are hoping their customers understand that they are not profiting from this price surge.

And are feeling it as much as shoppers are.

As always don’t waste your money.