Have you noticed recent increases in the price of beef and lamb? So have we – and it’s not an isolated phenomena.
The reason for these price hikes is rooted in Australia’s current economic and agricultural position. The relatively weak value of the Aussie dollar and lower herd numbers mean Australian beef and lamb producers have set their sights firmly on greener pastures – the export market.
It’s no secret that the vast majority of the beef and lamb industries rely heavily on export (last year, more than 70% of Australia’s beef was exported). The increasing international demand for Australian beef and lamb has pushed prices higher and higher. The United States, Asia and Europe have pounced on Australian livestock – pushing Beef and Lamb prices up by between 30 – 60% in the past couple of years, a dramatic increase. Combine this demand with the lower herd numbers caused by a few consecutive years of harsh weather conditions, and there’s fewer animals, costing more and more per head. Farmers are actually struggling to provide the numbers demanded by offshore markets. The comparatively strong economies of the export countries have allowed them to contend with the rising prices and leaving the Australian buyer unable to compete.
With our languishing dollar, Australian consumers are having to re-evaluate how and when they can afford to fork out for their red meat. Unsurprisingly, consumption of beef and lamb across Australia have dipped, with people favouring chicken and pork more because it’s easier on the wallet.
Based on current projections for the price of beef and lamb – this trend shows no signs of slowing down . As consumers we need to consider that having access to quality, grass-fed, free range and local meats is a privilege and even a rarity. We may have to adjust our spending accordingly – whether that means taking advantage of cheaper cuts or being more diverse and creative with the way we prepare and eat our meat.
Image courtesy of The Courier Mail.