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Price of beef skyrocketing and it could stay that way

Too few truck drivers and too few workers at processing plants are helping to drive meat prices up.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Have you gone to buy beef recently and noticed the high price tag?    

Those high prices are yet another repercussion of the supply chain crisis.

Meat prices in general are up, but it's the price of beef that's through the roof. 

New York Butcher Shoppe butcher Todd Prochaska says he's never seen prices this high. "Across our stores, we are seeing extremely high pricing," Prochaska said. 

Prochaska says he has never seen the price of beef reach these prices. "At one point this year, we were selling USDA prime ribeye for around $20 a pound. Now, it's almost $30 a pound."

"We're seeing increases of about 50-60%," Prochaska said.

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Pawleys Front Porch restaurant in Five Points is known for their burgers. Owner Kirkman Findlay, III, says he, too, is feeling the pinch. "Never seen anything like it."

"It's not only the price, it's whether you can get it. And then, the impacts flow through immediately to your customer," Finlay said. 

"Beef is our single biggest purchase, its 20% of what we buy. Beef has gone up 50%. Something that I bought for $3 is now $4.50."

Finlay says that cost is being passed on to patrons, saying, "You're telling your customers, 'look we had to raise prices.' We had to do a 50-cent price increase immediately."

Susan Cohen, president and CEO of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, says the price increase is a combination of factors, including the supply chain crisis and truck driver and labor shortages at processing plants.

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"It's going to be a cost for the most part. They're having to absorb it to keep their customers coming in," said Cohen.

Finlay says the menu over at Pawleys has had to be adjusted. "We were able to get 100 pounds of fresh shrimp. It was more expensive than I like, but it's an alternative."

The advice for consumers from the butcher is, "Pork, chicken other things they can substitute if beef pricing is too high."

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