It is by far one of the steepest increases in memory but with an approximate additional $1.00 per lb. for beef over the past year, the impact is sure to be felt in many aspects of the kosher food industry. Experts predict that in many households, beef will become a “luxury item” to be served on special occasions.
Prices for beef dishes in restaurants as well as the cost per person in catering have already reflected the sharp increases, which the experts say is not peculiar to kosher. The increased prices are due to a cattle shortage that has even caused some plant closings.
Sources told Kosher Today that unlike Israel, US purveyors are unable to import from such countries as Brazil, Poland, and Argentina, but even some cattle-rich countries of South America are not an answer for kosher because of the requirement for stunning in some of the countries.
Israel is also facing a shortage of beef but is hoping that the recent court decision in Poland overturning the ban on schechita will open up a new source for its meat purveyors. Brazil is also a major source for the Israelis. Thankfully, the record increases do not effect poultry which has even benefited from a decline in grain prices. Industry experts expect a major shift to poultry even during the upcoming Pesach season.