Speed Reads


A strange side-effect of the pandemic? 'Carcass imbalance'

As a wise man once said, "Beef. It's what's for dinner." And nothing about the coronavirus pandemic has made that change; if anything, people are cooking at home even more. But with restaurants closed, farmers are running into a supply chain problem known by "the joyous name of: carcass imbalance," The Bureau's James Ball tweeted Friday.

Because we're cooking so much at home, Ball writes, there has been "a big jump in demand for the cheap cuts of meat — most notably the bits we use to make supermarket mince. At the same time, the stuff that's usually much more expensive, like the fancy steak cuts, has a big drop in demand."

The pork industry "seems to have experienced the hardest hit," reports Drovers, an American beef industry magazine. "The sudden decline in the food service industry has plummeted the value of pork, which gets a large portion of its price boost from restaurants. Bacon, bellies, and other premium pork products have plummeted in value, with bellies trading below $0.40 per pound and retail bacon reaching $2 per pound or less." Additionally, "The loss of the food service demand has caused beef middle meats (rib and loin cuts) to drop to their lowest price in a decade."

The whole thing is creating a major "ruckus," Ball agrees. As Nick Allen, the CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, told The Grocer, "There is plenty of food to go around but, in order for the system to keep working, we need to maintain the mechanisms (like carcase balance) that allow it to function properly." Read more via Ball here.