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Why Vegetarians Win the War on Inflation

Now is a great time to be vegetarian.

That’s because foods made with beef and pork are becoming more and more expensive. In June, Americans paid 4.5% more for the month for beef and veal and 3.1% more for pork, according to data from the Consumer Price Index released this month.

Steaks, roasts, pork chops, ground beef and ham had the biggest price increases over the past month compared to May: 6%, 5%, 5%, 3.4% and 3.1, respectively. %.

In contrast, frozen and canned vegetables cost 1.2% and 0.7% lower, respectively, last month compared with May, according to CPI data.

“In the meat sector, converting live animals into meat products is quite labor-intensive,” said Glynn Tonsor, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University.


In June, people paid 4.5% more in the month for beef and veal and 3.1% more for pork.

“Even before COVID, there were challenges in terms of getting the right quality and quantity of workers,” he said, adding that outbreaks of infections at meatpacking plants further compounded the problem. This leads to a shortage of meat in supermarkets.

The industry is struggling to hire more workers right now, while people in 24 states continue to receive an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, Tonsor told MarketWatch.

The governors of 26 other states including Texas, Florida and Ohio soon cut out jobless Americans collecting an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits before it expires in early September.

They say the benefits are too generous and have kept Americans from applying for new jobs, especially since there are now 9.2 million facilities open in the US.

At the same time, consumers are paying more for meat simply because “they want more protein,” says Tonsor, publisher. monthly study based on consumer expectations of what they would pay for ribeye, ground beef, pork chops, and bacon.

According to the June unemployment report, about 129,000 agricultural workers are currently unemployed. Last June, about 87,000 people in this industry were unemployed.


‘The conversion of live animals into meat products is quite labor-intensive.’


– Glynn Tonsor, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University

The BLS doesn’t officially track employment in the meat industry, but Tonsor said he’s heard many good examples of how difficult it is to recruit and retain employees in the industry.

“Meat processors and packers are experiencing labor shortages,” said Sarah Little, vice president of communications for the North American Meat Institute, a trade group representing meat processors and packers. .

“But demand for meat and poultry remains very strong,” she added.

The Meat Processors Association of America and the National Pork Producers Council did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.

Besides the labor shortage, corn, soybeans and grains used to make animal feed are also more expensive than they were last year, Tonsor said, “that’s going to be passed on to consumers.”

Ultimately, Tonsor predicts meat prices will fall because feed costs fall or employers hire more workers.


In June, prices of frozen and canned vegetables fell by 1.2% and 0.7% respectively from the previous month.

In the meantime, “there are reasons to be cautious,” he said.

“Watch your budget because many things are getting expensive and we all have to eat.”

Americans paid 5.4% more for goods and services last month than in June 2020. That leads to highest cost of living Americans have been paying since 2008.

More broadly, the general rise in inflation is being fueled in part by a global shortage of microchips, which is driving up prices of new and used cars, as well as change, analysts say. shopping habits when Americans go on vacation, go to sports. events and dining.

The 10.5% increase in used car prices accounted for more than a third of the overall price increase last month. Food consumed at home and in the home last month was 0.8% more expensive than in May, and accounted for 12% of the total increase in inflation.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-vegetarians-are-winning-the-inflation-battle-11626195770?rss=1&siteid=rss | Why Vegetarians Win the War on Inflation

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