As we near the end of 2021, it is an excellent time to look back at the year and summarize the activities and accomplishments in an industry vertical. Our spotlight shines on the beef industry, where U.S. beef exports are forecast to strengthen their presence in the global market.
According to USMEF (U.S. Meat Export Federation) beef exports exceeded previous records, breaking the $1 billion mark for the first time. So far this year, U.S. beef exports exceeded 1.8 billion pounds, an increase of nearly 19% over 2020.
Beef Prices are up 20%
Inflation is partly to blame, but beef prices are up disproportionately higher than the rest of the animal proteins. In 2020, COVID shutdowns of beef production plants left farmers with the unhappy alternative of culling cattle. Processing facilities were also at reduced capacity as a result of labor shortages.
Increased demand for beef products, coupled with the 2020 shortages, started an upward trend in prices. In 2021, demand continued to strengthen as people frequented restaurants more, fueling the price increases in beef products.
Trends in the Global Meat Products Market
While labor shortages have posed a big challenge for meat processing companies, the higher price points for beef versus other animal proteins have given beef processors an advantage in competing for labor.
Prices for offals have seen huge increases, as China has moved toward US beef products due to supply and regulatory issues in other beef-producing countries.
Beef Predictions for the Coming Year
Beef is expected to continue its upward trends into 2022. Declining cattle numbers coupled with lighter carcass weights may lead to slightly less beef production in 2022 than this year’s record production. With demand remaining high at the end of 2021, prices will likely continue upward.