US Retail Meat: Grocers Downplay Meat Features

KANSAS CITY - U.S. retail grocers this week were downplaying their meat features and raising prices on most items in response to rising wholesale prices, especially for beef, and many trade sources think the trend may continue for the next few weeks, meat buyers and market analysts said.

But while retail grocers are raising prices to account for higher wholesale values, they're also looking at rising energy costs and forecasts for stressful winter conditions that will raise home heating bills to record heights, an eastern market analyst said. Most grocers aren't sure how to position themselves as being the most attractive food seller while still turning a profit in the meat case.

Meat buyers also are dealing with large hog slaughter rates and are trying to balance this with continued good consumption of beef, pork and chicken, the sources said. They hear reports of reduced traffic at the more expensive restaurants and figure consumption cuts at the retail grocery level are only a winter cold snap away and choose to take events one day at a time.

calendar icon 14 October 2005
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