Ag economist says grocery store disruptions are likely to continue – for now


Ag economist says grocery store disruptions are likely to continue – for now

An increasing number of grocery stores are limiting the number of fresh meat products customers can purchases as the nation’s beef and pork and processors remain under pressure from COVID-19.

Oklahoma State University ag economist Derrell Peel says the restrictions and inconveniences will likely remain in place for the next couple of weeks.  “We’re not able to turn product out as fast,” he says.  “There is still product coming out, there will still be product flowing into grocery stores.  But it’s going to be in somewhat limited supply and somewhat limited selections.  The grocery stores are simply trying to provide as many of their customers as they can to get some product.”

He tells Brownfield longer-term there is no real threat to the meat supply.  “We have lots of cattle,” he says.  “They’re backing up and they need to be processed.  And just as soon as we can get the workers healthy they will get processed.  It’s just this temporary disruption.”

Grocery store chains Kroger and Hy-Vee and warehouse chain Costco are temporarily restricting purchases of beef, pork, and poultry products.  And fast-food chain Wendy’s has had to restrict menu items at some of their locations as beef suppliers continue to face production challenges.  In a statement to Brownfield, the company says it will continue to supply hamburgers to all of its restaurants with deliveries two to three times a week.  But some menu items may be temporarily limited in the current environment.  The company says it’s working diligently to minimize the impact to its customers and restaurants. 

AUDIO: Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University

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