You may have noticed your meals are costing more these days. Ground beef, a Midwestern staple, has risen by as much as $2 a pound.
And as in the case with most price hikes, it all has to do with supply and demand of hamburger.
Starr Fedders isn't buying beef today, but after checking out today's prices on hamburger, she's glad her family purchased part of a cow and has plenty of meat the freezer.
"I want to say when we did it in October, maybe $3 a pound at the most--definitely compared to the prices now," Fedders said.
While the average price per pound of ground beef is now about $5, Hy-Vee is still advertising specials for 80 percent lean for $2.99.
"Fortunately you're going to see most retailers still have some contracted prices out there that they can take advantage of in their advertising," Bob Trader of Hy-Vee said.
"I usually buy a couple extra pounds here and there. We have a freezer; might as well buy it while it's on sale and save while you can. Customer Larry Bergjord said.
Still the price of ground beef has been going up between 25 and 75 cents a week for more than a month. You can blame drought in the south and ice storms in our area for a six percent decrease in U.S. beef output.
"The beef market over the last two or three years has really been a break even at best proposition for ranchers; so they were kind of holding back on growing their herds to begin with. You throw those two events on top of it where you've lost a good chunk of your herd and you have the lowest level of cattle out there since 1951," Trader said.
With the regular price of ground beef hovering at about $5 per pound, stores are seeing an increase in alternatives, such as ground pork for $3.49 a pound and ground turkey at $3.69 a pound.
While you may be able to buy a steak for about the same price these days as ground beef, prices are expected to level off come grilling season.
Area prices of 80 percent lean ground beef:
- Hy-Vee $2.99 (sale price)
- Walmart $3.38
- Fareway $2.99 (sale price)
- Sunshine $2.49 (sale ends today) regularly $3.99
- Franklin Foods $3.67
- Target $3.99