Beef, pork prices poised to go down

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CLARKONOMICS: We’ve seen report after report about food going up in price. But I have good news to report: The price of a couple of staple meats should be going down through the summer.

There’s a new report out from the Agriculture Department and a variety of other sources that notes both beef and pork are poised to go down in price because of increased supply. As one analyst says, “We have more beef and pork in storage than a year ago and we have more beef coming at us.”

The extra supply of cattle and pigs is so large that you’ll see significant declines in the price of red meat and the other white meat over the next few months.

The question then becomes, how much of the savings will be passed on by the supermarkets?

This is a typical scenario: Businesses pressured on the cost front will raise prices as fast as the market bears. Yet when relief comes on the cost front, they will hold onto higher prices as long as the marketplace permits. That creates a situation where it’s very typical that prices tend to gallop higher, but only gradually and grudgingly come down.

But remember that the power resides with you. You have product substitution on your side. You can change your shopping pattern and buy something different if the price of what you usually get is too expensive. That’s our reaction to high prices as consumers, based on good common sense and simple judgment.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired June 2011.

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