OTTAWA — What has contributed most to rising beef prices at the checkout counter in the last couple of years?
Statistics Canada comes up with some answers in a new report issued Sept. 2. From slaughter to supermarket: how supply-chains inform beef prices concludes that cost pressures largely arose in the processing sector and were passed along by wholesalers to retailers. Those retailers, however, appear to have eaten some of the extra costs instead of passing it fully to their customers.
“During the pandemic, from 2020 to 2021, beef prices experienced dramatic fluctuations due to several reasons including COVID-related plant shutdowns in early 2020, drought, and global supply chain issues in 2021,” says the report, which pointedly notes that 2021 saw the highest rise in the Consumer Price Index in 30 years.
Retailers saw “large movement” in the prices charged to them by their wholesalers but the data “suggests that retailers absorbed much of (those) price increases and passed a fraction of these costs to consumers,” according to the report, which can be read here.