Price, not Meatless Mondays, will boost produce

08/03/2012 09:53:00 AM
Tom Karst

Klag points this truth out to Vilsack, noting that recent USDA food price forecasts estimate consumer beef prices will increase as much as 5% next year.

“Eliminating meat one day a week is a practical way for Americans to keep those escalating costs in line with their household budgets,” Klag wrote Vilsack.

So true, Mr. Klag.

Some in the produce industry have embraced “Meatless Monday.”

For example, Potandon Produce LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho, promoted Klondike Brands Potatoes each Monday in July this year by featuring a meatless recipe on its website, with potatoes as an alternative to meat.

I would love the luxury of breaking out a couple of 16-ounce steaks every Monday and grilling them on the Weber.

More than likely, that won’t happen. Excepting an occasional splurge on a McDouble burger at lunch, budget-friendly baked potatoes and a garden salad may make it on the menu instead.

Rest assured, I won’t be holding greenhouse gases against the meat industry, however.

Consumer beef price increases of 10% in 2011, a projected 3.5% to 4.5% increase in 2012 and 4% to 5% next year leave the meat industry vulnerable to erosion of demand from budget-sensitive consumers like me.

By way of contrast, fresh fruits and vegetables showed more modest price increases of 4.5% in 2011, a projected 1.5% to 2.5% this year and 2% to 3% inflation forecast for next year.

You know that consumer perception that fruits and vegetables are expensive?

Wait ’til they visit the meat counter.

tkarst@thepacker.com

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