Beef demand a shining light during dark days of pandemic


Beef demand a shining light during dark days of pandemic

The director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council says demand for beef has been a shining light even in the darkest times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rex Hoppes tells Brownfield it has been “unbelievable.”

“The demand continues to stay solid, and grew dramatically with the onset of COVID-19 back in the early months of March, April and May. And (there were) tremendous opportunities that we saw in the marketplace.”

He says while retail sales are off the charts, COVID restrictions have led to the demise of many small restaurants in rural communities throughout the country.

“And we sure hope that can be turned around as time goes on. As so many folks know, when they go out to eat they want to eat a steak. They don’t want to eat a hamburger, they don’t want to eat necessarily chicken or a pork chop, I think you can eat that at home too. But when they go out, folks want to eat a steak.”

Hoppes calls food service an important fabric of beef consumption and points out pre-COVID, about 60 percent of all beef was consumed in restaurants.  Since the start of the pandemic however, he says most beef is being consumed through retail.