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Rising U.S. beef production leads to lower prices in meat case

beef in the meat case
Good news for consumers shopping for beef this holiday season.

As consumers shop at the meat case this holiday season and into the new year, they'll see lower retail prices on beef, including popular holiday cuts like the tenderloin and rib roast.

November 2016 was the largest beef production month since 2010, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to raise its beef production forecast for 2016 in its "World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates" (WASDE) released Dec. 9. As a result, industry experts at CattleFax, a beef industry analyst firm, reported that beef prices are down more than 10% from the highs of late 2014. 

Beef production has increased and demand remains exceptionally strong, which means lower prices for consumers. Source: Stockbyte_Jupiterimages_Thinkstock

Beef production is currently on an upward trend, with production projected to rise 6% in 2016 and another 4% in 2017, according to CattleFax.

"As beef production has increased and demand remains exceptionally strong, better prices will be passed on to consumers," CattleFax market analyst Lance Zimmerman said. "This holiday season, it means consumers can expect to see lower pricing reflected in retail advertising, better promotions on beef and more limited-time offers on menu items."

Putting beef deals in consumers' hands

The nation's cattle farmers and ranchers contribute marketing dollars collected through the beef checkoff program to promote beef sales. For example, farmers and ranchers are working with Ibotta, a smartphone app that offers rebates on groceries and other items. Consumers who download the Ibotta app can browse the "Grocery" category for rebates on fresh ground beef, steaks and roasts, unlock the rebates and then buy these items at more than 80 retailers to get cash back through Ibotta.

"With more beef available, it's an ideal opportunity for consumers to take advantage of lower prices at the meat case," said Tracy Brunner, a beef producer and president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., a contractor to the beef checkoff. "We're helping consumers do exactly that with valuable promotions and tips for easily incorporating beef into their meal planning during the holidays and into the new year."

In addition to favorite holiday cuts, consumers will also find good deals on lean beef cuts, such as top sirloin and strip steak – which is good news for consumers who are looking to curb their craving heading into the holidays and the new year.

"Research shows that lean sources of protein like beef can support a healthy weight by helping you feel fuller, longer, making high-calorie snacks and desserts less tempting," said Dr. Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition at the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn.

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