Why is the price of meat exploding?

With an increase of more than 5% between March and April 2022, meat is the product whose price increases the most. Explanations.

When eating meat becomes a luxury… In the space of a few weeks, between March and April 2022, the price of meat has increased by 5.23% while inflation continues to climb. A steep rise that does not date from yesterday, since the magazine 60 million consumers indicated at the beginning of April that frozen meat had experienced a price increase of more than 4.2% in one year. It would seem that it is particularly private labels and “first price” brands that are driving prices up, with an increase of nearly 6% in one year, notes the consumer rights organization.

Jean-François Guilhard, president of the French Confederation of butchery-charcuterie-caterers, also confirmed at the microphone of RMC that the price of meat will continue to increase for several months and could reach 10%. All meats are affected by these increases. Starting with veal, which had increased by 3% at the end of 2021, or rabbit, which increased by more than 6% between March 2021 and March 2022. While it had already jumped by more than 6% in 2021, beef continued to rise this year and reached record levels. Pork and chicken are also seeing their prices increase, to a lesser extent.

A drop in production

This increase is explained in particular by a drop in production of the order of 2% per year, according to the president of the French Confederation of butchery-charcuterie-caterers. “The drop in production is linked to the fact that some breeders stop their activity because they are not paid enough”. Indeed, the average remuneration of breeders is between 10,000 and 12,000 euros per year. An increase in remuneration for breeders would be welcome at a time when there is a strong imbalance between producers, industry and distribution. The observatory of prices and margins in the agri-food sector indicated in 2016 that for 100 euros spent by the consumer on food, only 8.20 euros go back to the farmer compared to 13.20 euros for the agri-food industry and 19 80 euros for trade.

The general increase in prices such as energy is also responsible for this increase in the price of meat. Farmers are faced with rising many costs such as gas, electricity or petrol which are essential for farming. With the increase in grain prices, grain-based feed for livestock has also seen its price skyrocket, directly impacting the farmer.

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If the production costs of energy and animal feed were already rising sharply before the war in Ukraine, the conflict has only made things worse. Indeed, “Russia and Ukraine represent 33% of world wheat exports, 20% of corn, and 75% of sunflower production”. Raw materials necessary for animal feed, explained at the beginning of March Philippe Chalmin, president of the Observatory of the formation of prices and margins of food products.

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