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Beef prices on the rise as Oklahoma grilling season arrives

Beef prices have gone up every month since 2011, according to the federal consumer price index.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: May 30, 2013

But at Bill Kamp's Meat Market, when a customer wants a steak, a cheaper alternative like chicken breast isn't going to cut it, owner Bill Kamp said.

“We have not seen a fall off of demand at our place. Our sales are still good. But our prices are at record levels,” he said.

The meat market, at 7310 N Western, specializes in premium beef. Since the store doesn't sell other grocery items, they can't accept a lower profit on beef like a big grocery store can, Kamp said.

But on Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff to grilling season, beef tenderloins were hot, despite being one of the pricier cuts of beef. “We just make sure that at a premium price, our customers are getting a premium product,” Kamp said.

Veggies, too?

It may seem like fruits and vegetables are taking a larger bite out of consumers' budgets, too, but prices are actually average this year, Volpe said. However, in 2012, unusually warm weather in California and Mexico led to an abundance of many summer favorites, resulting in cheap produce.

Vegetable prices fell 5 percent in 2012, which is very unusual and reflective of the abnormal weather, he said. “There are no bumper crops this year. Prices are normal, they just look high compared to what they were,” he said.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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Retailers are doing their best to pass these cost increases on as minimally and slowly as possibly.”

Ricky Volpe,
U.S. Department of Agriculture economist

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