Beef demand sees seasonal decrease

Consumers turn to traditional ham and turkey entrees during the holidays. So, it is not unusual to see domestic beef demand seasonally decrease; however, this is a year like no other.

A livestock marketing economist says that there seems to be more questions than answers when it comes to beef demand and utilization in the final weeks of 2020.

According to Katelyn McCullock, with the Livestock Marketing Information Center, “Demand for beef in the fourth quarter has been called into question as we... start to see COVID cases rise; what that would mean for beef, specifically related to holiday parties and corporate events that tend to serve items such as prime ribs and ribeyes in a larger volume... That’s not the complete beef demand story. There’s other seasonal cuts that are more favored in home cooking applications, and they usually do very well in cold weather, including chucks and rounds. Both of those primal values increased over last week.”

McCullock says that price point is a big concern as consumers compare beef with chicken and pork. As financial impacts weigh on some income groups, beef could struggle more if another lockdown occurs.