The average U.S. price for fresh beef rose in February to its highest level since 1987 — $5.28 a pound — as cattle ranchers reduced their herds amid dry conditions and demand for beef increased in China and Japan, among other export destinations, The Associated Press reports. Prices are expected to stay high for a few years, at least.
Some shoppers are sucking up the price hike — 25 cents a pound in a month — or switching to cheaper cuts, while others are simply looking elsewhere for their protein. Some ranchers are nervous that people will permanently change their eating habits if prices stay high, even as all cattle ranchers are thrilled about getting more money for their wares.
As for restaurants, they're either passing on the higher costs to customers or, as some higher-end restaurants are, serving smaller steaks. So, bad time to go on the paleo diet, and good time to own a hamburger stand.